Two-day IOS on-line International Conference on Personality and Contribution of Dr. Mohammad Natsir as a National and International Thought Leader in 20th Century

New Delhi: A two-day international conference on Personality and Contribution of Dr. Mohammad Natsir as a national and international thought leader in 20th century was organised by the Institute of Objective Studies on February 6-7, 2021, in collaboration with Universitas Ibn Khaldun Bogor (Indonesia), International Institute of Islamic Thought, and Indonesian Da’wah Council. 

The inaugural session began with the recitation of a verse from the Quran by Hafiz Athar Husain Nadwi. 

In his introductory remarks, the Secretary General IOS, Prof. Z.M. Khan, said that the institute was a non-political and non-profit organisation engaged in research on topical issues pertaining to depressed and deprived sections of society, particularly Indian Muslims. A number of suggestions relating to projects from within the country and outside were being constantly received, but due to lack of resources, it was not possible to consider all of them. 

Several universities and institutions of higher learning had given projects to the IOS. Explaining the procedure followed by the institute in approving projects, he said that topics were decided by it and then allotted to researchers. The institute also published books on various subjects. So far, more than 500 titles had come out. Besides, translation of important books into English, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi was another area in which the institute worked. Surveys on various issues were conducted to determine the core of the problem.  One such survey was undertaken to study the trend of response of youngsters to elections in the country. 

The institute also awarded a limited number of scholarships to candidates pursuing doctoral research on themes preferred by it. Lectures and seminars, both national and international, were regularly organised. A series of Ibn Khaldun lectures had been started under which several lectures had taken place. The institute had five chapters in different parts of the country which catered to regional aspirations, Prof. Khan said. Two awards–Shah Waliullah Award and Lifetime Achievement Award – had been instituted to honour scholars and eminent personalities in recognition of their exceptional contribution to related fields. Regular publications, like print journals and e-magazines was another feature of the activities of the institute. It also published annual IOS calendar which contained relevant and updated data for use by researchers. The calendar had become popular due to its utility. In addition, IOS owned a full-fledged library at its headquarters that catered to scholars, he added. 

In his welcome address, vice-director, Postgraduate School, Ibn Khaldun University, Bogor, Indonesia, Dr. Hendri Tanjung, said that the conference was being attended by around 300 participants from more than 30 universities across the continent and 100 institutions across Indonesia. The major outcomes that one expected from the conference was recognition to the contribution of Dr. Mohammad Natsir as an Islamic leader, nationally and internationally. Referring to Bogor Ibn Khaldun University (UIKA), he said that it was the oldest private university located in Bogor city, West Java, Indonesia. 

Inspired by an all-time great scholar, Ibn Khaldun, the university was named after him. The university had six faculties, one graduate school and 23 study programmes with around 7,500 students. The university had many lecturers and special alumni who were currently serving as public leaders at the local, national and international levels. Based on the vision, mission and also the motto (faith, knowledge and good deeds) UIKA had produced quality graduates in various fields. 

The university was committed to conducting innovative research to create reciprocal collaboration that benefited society. Currently, UIKA collaborated with several foreign universities located in several countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Qatar, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Darussalam, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Russia, he added. 

A profile of Dr. M. Natsir was presented by his son, Mr. Ahmad Fauzie Natsir, who was the former trade attache at Indonesian embassy at Riyadh, KSA. He said that after moving to Bandung from his hometown Solok, West Sumatra for higher education, Dr. Natsir studied Islamic doctrine extensively. His first article was published in 1929, and during the 1930s, he wrote several Islamic-themed papers. He entered politics in mid-1930s, rising through the ranks of Islamic parties. On September 25, 1950, he was chosen as prime minister, a term which he held till April 26, 1951. After his tenure as prime minister, he became increasingly vocal about Islamic role in Indonesia for which he was eventually arrested. He observed that Natsir wrote extensively on Islam, totaling 45 books and hundreds of articles.

He viewed Islam as an intrinsic part of Indonesian culture and was disappointed with the Sukarno and Suharto  governments’ hardling of religion. He was given three honorary doctorates during his lifetime, one from Lebanon and two from Malaysia. On November 10, 2008, Natsir was honoured as a national hero of Indonesia. Natsir began to associate himself with well-known scholars like Agus Salim, and in the mid-1930s, he took Salim’s place in discussing the relationship between Islam and the state. 

In 1938, he enrolled as a member of Partai Islam Indonesia (Indonesian Islamic Party), and became the chairman of the Bandung branch from 1940 to 1942. During the Japanese occupation, he joined Majelis Islam A’la Indonesia and became one of its chairmen from 1945 until the party was banned. After the proclamation of Indonesian independence, he became a central Indonesian national committee member. Commenting on Dr. Natsir’s political views, he said that his politics was religiously motivated with ayat 56 of the Adh-Dhariyat as justification. His goal as a politician was to ensure that the Muslim community lived in a state where Islamic teachings applied in the life of individual, society and the state of the Republic of Indonesia. He also fought for human rights and the modernisation of islam, Fauzie Natsir added. 

In his inaugural address, Dato Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, observed that Mohammad Natsir was a scholar activist with the knowledge of five or more languages. Besides his impeccable Bahasa Indonesia as his mother tongue, he also understood and spoke Arabic, Dutch, English and French. He became the de facto leader of Masyumi, Indonesia’s largest Islamic based political party, together with Agus Salim, and from 1949 onwards, Natsir became the most prominent member of the party leadership. In his celebrated three-volume Capita Selecta written between 1936 and 1960, he articulated his thoughts on a wide array of topics. Astonishingly, he discussed nearly every pressing issue in Islamic thought of his time, from language to history, from politics to arts, providing critique and offering his stance on various issues. Natsir believed that despite the difficult nature of philosophy to be understood by public at large, it was the responsibility of the enlightened to help imbue philosophy in their thought by using the right means in accordance with the level of public comprehension. He eulogised Ibn Tufayl for his remarkable work in conveying philosophical ideas via a hypothetical tale of outstanding composition, he remarked.

Anwar Ibrahim held that Natsir did not despise Pancasila as something purely secular which deserved revocation, but instead looking at it as something that could be regarded as Islamic by means of interpretation and implementation. Natsir believed that it was not wise to force the contemporary society to accept a custom that no longer suited the context of their milieu. He believed that the intellectual foundation of any nation in the world that determinded its progress and regress in history lay within its own mother tongue.

Native language, he said, formed an essential part of the nation’s culture and identity. Language and thought were inseparable from each other as they were structurally intertwined. Natsir affirmed that language must constantly develop abreast of new knowledge and information. He used to say, “If an art is devoid of the goal to execute the ideas it contains, then such art loses its raison d’etre, for an art is built upon the premise that any explicit suggestion or order might not be as effective as when it is implicit”.

Natsir stressed the importance of identifying the idea behind an art and not merely looking at the impact. In 1957, Sukarno tabled his idea with the aim of establishing an all-encompassing national house and a unity cabinet which would host members from all political parties as well as representatives from groups of scholars, artisans, farmers and fishermen. This drew criticism from Natsir, who questioned the basis for such action. He cited other nations with “differences in the levels of thought and culture” from the western society such as Pakistan, India and Burma, and noted that they still retained their parliamentary democracy, Anwar Ibrahim added. 

In his keynote address Prof. M. Kamal Hassan, former rector, IIU, Malaysia and advisor CENTRIS, Malaysia, described Natsir as a prominent leader of Islam with a revolutionary bent of mind. Fondly addressed as Pak (father) by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, he became the most prominent leader of Islamic politics after the Second World War and became the first prime minister of a united, post-revolutionary Indonesia in August 1950. By 1949 he was the head of the Islamic party, called Masyermi, which brought together several Islamic political parties under one umbrella. An intellectual with a strong Islamic foundation, Mohammad Natsir rapidly reached the top of political prominence within a short revolutionary period. In the 1930s, Natsir became a leading Islamic polemicist who criticised not only the Western misconception of Islam, but also the domestic propagation of secular nationalism, whose greatest protagonist at the time was Sukarno when he was a young nationalist intellectual and when he became the first president of the republic of Indonesia, he observed. 

Prof. Hassan held that Natsir was an exceptionally intelligent, knowledgeable, wise and a compassionate Muslim leader, not only in politics and international relations, but also in Islamic thought, Islamic education, inter-religious dialogue, national and community development and Islamic propagation (Da’wah). He was loved by the people as well as by his colleagues, and highly respected by friends and foes alike. He was among the last of the religio-political giants in Muslim South-east Asia and was much sought after by the Muslim intelligentsia and Islamic youth leaders in the region, particularly in Malaysia.

He said that realising the negative social and political consequences of the educational and cultural dichotomy of traditionalist and conservative education on the one hand and that of modern secular education on the Muslim community on the other, Natsir felt the need to work towards the integration and unification of the two opposing systems, so that eventually there would emerge the “ulama-intellectual and the “intellectual-ulama” ideal types in Indonesian society. He observed that the superior intellectual quality of Natsir contributed significantly to the advancement of discourse of Islamic renewal and reform in 20th century Indonesia.

In emphasising the necessity of reform, he made sure that it was a genuine Islamic discourse. Modern Muslim history has shown that there had been modernists, secularists or deviants who had used the lables of Islah (reform) and Tajdid (renewal) as a camouflage for deviant ideas or programmes. He concluded by saying that Mohammad Natsir had bequeathed to the younger generation of Muslims in Indonesia and the Malay-Indonesian world his invaluable intellectual-ethnic legacy which was still relevant to the pluralistic, multi-religious and cosmopolitan Indonesian and Malaysian societies.

Speaking as the guest of honour, Dr. Jusuf Kalla, former vice-president of the Republic of Indonesia, observed that he was a Muslim who had influence over intellectuals as he himself was an intellectual. He had passed only high school, but his broad vision brought him closer to many intellectuals of the world. He was a combination of so many things but his politics of Da’wah catapulted him to fame. His role in the setting up of a federal system in 1950 was still remembered by the people of Indonesia. He described Natsir as a leader, intellectual and administrator. 

Another guest of honour, Dr. Fadli Zon, chairman of the House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, held that Mohammad Natsir was renowned as a Muslim statesman, an a’alim, a scholar and one of the most respected politicians in the Islamic world of the 20th century. As a political thinker, his profile was multi-faceted, his view on Islam holistic and honest. Natsir’s name was widely recognised in the international community, especially in the Islamic world.  His political career did not happen overnight. He had always been in touch with senior activists during the Japanese occupation, both the Islamists and nationalists.

He said that the growth of ideology-based politics in the post-independence era encouraged Natsir to promote Islamic ideology through constitutional platforms. As a Muslim scholar, Natsir was well-versed in a vast range of discourse, be it rooted in Islamic ideology, eastern scholarly tradition or western schools of thought. His access to knowledge was enabled by him being a polyglot, skilled in English, Arabic, Dutch, French and Latin. It was this kind of aptitude that made Natsir both an Islamic thinker and democrat. Instead of rejecting democracy, Natsir believed that it had to be aligned with the principles of Islam.

Political parties and the state, according to him, were the instruments through which Islamic values were upheld. The existence of these institutions was the means for their actors to devote themselves to Islam by way of elevating welfare of the people. Referring to Natsir’s attitude towards the Pancasila (the five principles), he said that this was often questioned by some groups because the views expressed by him were considered contradictory. When Masyumi was founded on November 7, 1945, until the 1955 general elections, Natsir was a supporter of Pancasila. However, from 1956 to 1961, Natsir supported Islam as the state ideology. For his contribution, Natsir was remembered as one of the founding fathers of Indonesia’s political development, he added.

In his words of appreciation, chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, observed that the idea behind organising the international conference was to acquaint the young generation with the contribution of Mohammad Natsir to Islamic thought and inculcate in them an urge to protect and promote Islamic heritage. He stressed the need for remembering the contribution of great leaders of knowledge. This could happen only by means of education, cooperation, communication and collaboration. He suggested that the Ibn Khaldun University and the government of Indonesia should consider the proposal to get all the works of Mohammad Natsir translated into English, as well as all the 18 Indian languages recognised by the Constitution. The IOS too had taken a lead in publishing books on various subjects, and so far more than 500 titles had been published, he pointed out.

In his presidential address, Dr.  Ahmad Totonji, vice president, International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA, said that Dr. Natsir achieved whatever he wished. Indonesian people could not be forgotten for remembering the scholar of their own. He acknowledged having learnt a lot from Natsir. Later, the text of his speech was read out by his son, Mohammad Totonji, who said that his father met Natsir in Makkah in 1965 when the latter was on a visit to the holy city. Natsir stood for Islamic solidarity and did everything possible for the people of Indonesia as the first prime minister after independence. He said that he was seeing the words of Natsir come true after several years. He was closely associated with the Islamic Federation of World Muslim students’ organisations. In 1970, he visited Indonesia and saw for himself the work being done in various fields. He said that Mohammad Siddik managed the affairs of IIIT in Indonesia. 

The inaugural session was attended by more than 300 scholars and researchers from Indonesia, India, the US and the Middle-East. While Prof. M. Afzal Wani vice-chairman of IOS, conducted the proceedings, Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, the finance secretary, proposed a vote of thanks. 

Technical Session-I

Chaired by Prof. M. Afzal Wani, the first technical session was devoted to the theme “Dr. Natsir’s Personal Life, Early Days and Emergence as a National Leader”.  Dr. Mohammad Siddik, vice-president, Laznas Dewan Da’wah Islamiah, Indonesia, was the first speaker who held that Mohammad Natsir promoted Islamic social values. Natsir’s interest and passion about issues regarding Islam and Muslims had grown bigger. One thing that caught his attention was the fact that young Muslims, who were also students like him, did not feel proud of their identity as Muslims. He wanted them to regain respect for their religion and gradually start to practise it. Despite his limited knowledge, Natsir dedicated himself to become Islamic-subjects teacher in MULO and Sekolah Guru in Lembang, he said. 

Nirwan Syafrin, senior lecturer, Ibn Khaldun University, touched upon different aspects of his life.

Prof. Haseena Hashia former professor of geography, Jamia Millia Islamia and asstt. secretary general, IOS, observed that Natsir’s ideas on state, democracy and Islamic system of governance were based on Shariah. He was of the view that the ruler must be acknowledged by the ruled. He held that Islam gave people the right to demolish autocracy. All the powers in a democracy were given to the consultative assembly. 

She observed their Islam is neither a hundred per cent democracy nor a hundred per cent autocracy. Natsir combined both. His views were against reconciliation as the system did not allow it. But he explained how the synthesis could be worked out, she added.

Prof. M. Faheem Akhtar Nadwi, professor and head deptt. of Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, spoke on Prime Minister Mohammad Natsir: Mujahid-e-Azaadi wa Mujahide-e-Islam. He said that Natsir was like a star that rose in mid-twentieth century. He was well-recognised by the world of Islam. He belonged to a religious family and his father was an a’alim. In 1920, he headed a youth Muslim organisation. He actively participated in the freedom struggle and became the country’s prime minister for a short perod, Prof. Nadwi said. 

Dr. Kamal Ashraf Qasmi, asstt. professor and former HoD, Aliah University, Kolkata spoke on Dr. Mohammad Natsir: Life and Contributions.

Technical Session-II

The second technical session focused on Dr. Natsir’s contribution to nation building and his understanding of international political scenario. Dr. Hendri Tanjung was in the chair. Dr. Fadli Zon, who initiated the discussion, said that according to Natsir, islam and state were inseparable. Referring to President Sukarno’s speech, he said that pancasila based on five principles, was the state ideology supported by Natsir. It had two foundations–moral and political. But in 1957 it was rejected as a state policy. However, pancasila was a unifying force and was based on Islamic principles. He pointed out that Natsir broke from political streams to support Islam as state ideology.

Dr. Sajad Ahmad Padday, a scholar of Islamic Studies who got his PhD from Aligarh Muslim University, presented his paper on fervour of nation-building in the personalities of Dr. Mohammad Natsir and Abul Kalam Azad. He said that both Natsir and Maulana Azad supported religious and secular knowledge. Natsir favoured a combination of western and Islamic education. Both Natsir and Azad faced the colonial era and became key figures in their countries after independence. He said that both of them were well-versed in western and Islamic education.

The third paper presenter was Ms. Kehkashan Naz, research scholar, department of Islamic Studies, AMU, who talked about Dr. Mohammad Natsir's perspective on islamic culture in Indonesia. She said that Natsir was a scholar and social reformer. As president of Muslim Youth Association, he used to make motivational speeches. An author of about 45 books, he wrote on the scientific evaluation of Islam, she observed.

The last speaker was Dr. H. M. Hidayat Nur Wahid, vice-chairman of People’s Consultative Assembly, Republic of Indonesia, who focused on Dr. M. Natsir's contribution to nation-building. He held that Natsir’s contribution was recognised at the national level, and it also influenced relations between nations in 1950s. He embodied the ideals of nationality and humanity. He applied Islamic idealism as political rhetoric and character in personal, social and state life. He said that the difference in political views between Natsir and Suharto did not prevent Natsir from contributing to saving Indonesia from political and economic crisis at the start of the New Order. 

Technical Session-III

Devoted to Dr. Natsir’s thought and responses to contemporary national and international influences, the third technical session was presided over by Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish. Dr. Sohirin Muhammad Solihin, professor, department of Quran and Sunnah Studies, IIU, Malaysia, who presented the first paper, said that Natsir never did Islamic Studies in a formal way, nor did he ever reach university for higher study. Natsir’s intellectual vision grew up through western educational system during the Dutch colonial rule. He learnt about Islam when he joined Muslim youth activities in Bandung under tutorial guidance of Ahmad Hassan. He observed that in Islamic philosophy, Natsir involved himself in studying the view of Ibn Miskaweh, Imam Ghazali, Ibn Sina, Ibn Khaldun, al-Farabi and al-Kindi. He was not in favour of condemning the west as both east and the west belonged to Allah. In this connection, he used to quote the Quran. In many respects, Natsir favoured civilisational dialogue across religious boundaries, he added.

Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, former dean, School of Media Studies, head, department of Religious Studies, Central University of Kashmir, made some reflections on the thought of Dr. Mohammad Natsir. He said that Natsir had a great influence over the young generation. He knew German and Arabic, and addressed Indonesians in their own language. He envisioned political Islam and expounded the concept of Da’wah. He observed that Natsir was a committed Muslim who rejected Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s vision of Islam. Being a practical person, he presented socialistic Islam by vouching for western education without compromising on the Quran and Sunnah. Prof. Rafiabadi described him as a guide to the ummah and a cultural thinker.

Dr Abdul Majid Khan, associate professor of Islamic Studies, AMU, touched upon Dr. Mohammad Natsir’s ideas on Islam and politics. He said that during Dutch occupation of Indenesia, Christians used to forcibly compel Muslims to accept  Christianity. Thoughts of the ummah were restricted and they did not allowed Muslims to meet other Muslims from outside Indonesia. He believed that the nature of a nation-state should not be deficient of human welfare. Natsir wanted harmony of western thought, like freedom, peace and justice with Islam, he said.

Umair Azmi, staff engineer, R&D, Tajas Network Ltd., Gurgaon, presented his paper on Mohammad Natsir: engagement across boundaries. He said that the life of Mohammad Natsir could be divided into two phases with the dividing line being his participation in the PRRI rebellion. The latter phase, with political engagement being restricted by the Indonesian state, was noted for his participation in Da’wah activities and engagement with transnational Islamic organisations. According to Natsir, the philosophy of separation of religion from the state in its aftermath led to the divorce of spiritual and material values in life with unchecked materialism resulting in destruction.

On the Islamic state, Natsir approved Dr. Mohammad Iqbal’s ideas. His interest in Iqbal was clear from his speech on the occasion of Iqbal Day, he pointed out. 

Ms. Firdosa Akhtar, research scholar, department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, spoke on pancasila and Islam: a study of Mohammad Natsir. She said that during the Japanese occupation, Natsir served as chief of bureau of Islamic education in Bandung. After independence of Indonesia, he was appointed as minister of information in the first cabinet of Indonesia by Sukarno. He visited different countries such as Pakistan in 1952, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria in 1956, Jordan, India and Burma, and presented his ideas regarding peace and justice. She observed that Natsir was a devoted Muslim and intellectual who strived to live for the cause of Islam and his countrymen. 

Technical Session-IV

Devoted to the theme Dr. Natsir’s contribution to promotion of islamic thinking and his thoughts and methodology relevance to modern globalising world. The session was chaired by Dr. Sohirin Muhammad Solihin.

Prof. Syed Jamaluddin, director, historical research projects, IOS and former professor of history, JMI, was the first speaker who focused on tracing how the holy Quran inspired Mohammad Natsir. He said that Mohammad Natsir was best known for his writings on Islam and his insistence that Islam must guide the republic of Indonesia. He was of the opinion that religion and state could not be separated. The holy Quran guided Mohammad Natsir in all phases of his life. He infused Quranic spirit in his educational philosophy which was an important constituent of his political thought. He said that Natsir was concerned with the need to develop the Muslim ummah in Indonesia through education. In Natsir’s view, there was an urgent need to provide simple reading material on Islam for the young intelligentsia in Indonesia in the form of pocket books, so that new generation of intellectuals could study the teachings of Islam in depth. As a national leader and an intellectual of great class, Mohammad Natsir’s role in building the republic of Indonesia and bringing islamic political ideas in the forefront would always be remembered, he added.

Mr. Hilman Fikri Azman, executive secretary to chairman, International Institute of Islamic Thought, Malaysia, presented his paper on Mohammad Natsir (1908-1993) Disentangling Issues in Contemporary Islamic Thought while Dr. Aijaz Ahmad, assistant professor, department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, spoke on A Study on the Islamic Educational Thought of Mohammad Natsir.

Dr. Sumaiya Ahmad, assistant professor, department of Islamic Studies, Aliah University, Kolkata, presented her paper on Dr. Muhammad Natsir’s contribution to Islamic literary works. She described Dr. Natsir as an outstanding scholar with resilient thought. He focused on politics and teachings of Islam. His book on law of Da’wah was a significant work. He defined the relation between religion and the state. She said that Natsir always called for respecting and fulfilling democratic aspirations. 

Ms. Sana Naaz, research scholar, department of Sunni Theology, AMU, who presented her paper on Dr. Mohammad Natsir: Islami Fikr-e-Taleem aur Marboot Nezam-e-Taleem. She observed that Dr. Natsir was of the view that education must be based on divine value system. There was no point in rejecting western education. Universal values that Islam promoted should be highlighted. She focused on Islamic value system of knowledge. Religious and secular knowledge should be combined. Natsir wanted that whatever was good in western education should be adopted, she concluded. 

In his presidential remarks, Dr. Sohirin Muhammad Solihin said that the ideas of Mohammad Natsir should be restructured in curriculum for the benefit of the new generations. Capita Selecta in three volumes should be translated into other languaes. He said that inter-university cooperation should be strengthened for intellectual discourse on Natsir, who was a universalist and stood for justice and truth. He was neither western nor eastern, Dr. Sohrin observed.

Valedictory Session

In his special address, Dr. Hendri Tanjung said that Dr. Natsir’s contribution to education, art and culture would continue to dominate Indonesian discourse. His personality should be evaluated as his name would always remain alive in history. He expressed the confidence that the collaboration with the IOS in matters of research and dissemination of ideas would continue in future as well.

In his valedictory speech, Prof. M. Afzal Wani stressed that while following one methodology other methodologies should also be devised. He said that Dr. Natsir should be analysed with reference to sufferings and the ideas to protect one’s society. Dr. Natsir was emerging as an author at the age of 22. He was the best guide in the present situation. He wrote on Sirah and Islam. He responded to suffering and subjugation, and rejected methodologies which had no concern for contemporary times. Dr. Natsir worked for the consolidation and unification of Indonesia for the welfare of his people. He was a man, thinker and philosopher in his own right. Despite poverty, he moved forward and became a role model. Prof. Wani described him as a hero of humanity. He was a politician not by option and saw things as they were. Prof. Wani concluded by saying that there was Islamic knowledge or responses to it; there was no other knowledge than this.

In his presidential address, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, called Dr. Natsir an intellectual giant. His deeds conformed to the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). He was practical in approach and action. Underlining the importance of knowledge, Dr. Alam said that it was the lost treasure of Muslims. knowledge should be crystallised, analysed and then presented.

Emphasing the significance of Tawhid, unity of universal knowledge and humanity, he said that peace was the source of knowledge which should be pursued. Peace was also the source of power and progress and every human being should work for peace. Peace was a powerful instrument to achieve positive goals.

He observed that since peace generated positive thinking, powerful nations were trying to destroy it. Dr. Natsir focused on knowledge as the idea of knowledge ruled the world. He said that knowledge had been promoted by Allah and His Prophet (PBUH). Stressing the need for collaboration in the field of knowledge, he said that the IOS had already taken a lead by holding national and international conferences. He called for analysing new issues by understanding the nature of change in global perspective. He urged researchers and knowledge leaders to face today’s challenges and come out with solutions to problems concerning the unity of the universe and the issues of humanity. He also made a call for equality, unity of all, fraternity and justice. He ended by saying that ways should be found to join together on the points of the resolution passed on the occasion.

Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish read out the 5-point resolution, unanimously adopted by the participants. The resolution read: 

The Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi, Ibn Khaldun University Bogor, Indonesia, and International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA, organised a two-day online international conference on “Personality and Contribution of Dr. Mohammad Natsir as a national and international thought leader In 20th  Century” on Saturday and Sunday, February 6-7, 2021. 

The conference was attended by dignitaries and scholars from many nations, like, H. E. Dato Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, H. E. Dr. Jusuf Kalla, former vice president of Republic of Indonesia, Dr. Fadli Zon, chairman of the House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. M. Kamal Hassan, former rector, IIU, Malaysia and Advisor, CENTRIS, Malaysia, Dr. Ahmad Totonji, vice president, International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA, Dr. Hendri Tanjung, vice director, Postgraduate School, Ibn Khaldun University Bogor, Indonesia, Mr. Ahmad Fauzie Natsir, son of Dr. Mohammad Natsir, former trade attache at Indonesian embassy at Riyadh, KSA, Dr. Mohammad Siddik VC, Board of Trustees and former chairman, Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah, Indonesia, Dr. H. M. Hidayat Nur Wahid, vice-chairman of People’s Consultative Assembly, Republic of Indonesia, Dr. Sohirin Muhammad Solihin, professor, department of Quran and Sunnah Studies, IIU, Malaysia etc.

The conference adopts the following resolutions:

1. In order to understand the real global political, social and economic situation in the world during the transition from colonialism to independence, studies should be conducted by universities, research institutions and scholars on prominent personalities and contributors like Dr. Mohammad Natsir to the process of changeover and reshaping of the world.

2. Their biographies, scholarly contributions and studies conducted on various thinkers of the times should be made available in other languages, particularly, in English, for access and benefit to all with a spirit of service to academics and information for general masses.

3. Appreciating the role he played in his times as a scholar and public functionary, a collection of selected works of Dr. Mohammad Natsir may be brought out by the Institute of Objective Studies, Ibn Khaldun University Bogor, Indonesia, International Institute of Islamic Thought, USA, and Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah, Indonesia, with support of other universities and research and cultural bodies, mainly from Indonesia.

4. The government of Indonesia may institute an award in the name of Dr. Mohammad Natsir to people for contributions towards promoting understanding of Indonesia’s tolerant culture and Islam as role model for the better guidance of humanity the world over.

5. Notably with reference to his simplicity from school to rising to the position of prime minister and later an international leader, scholarships may be given in the name of Dr. Mohammad Natsir to students in various countries for advancing the intellectual prominence of Indonesia with Islamic thinking and scientific temperament.

The conference concluded with a formal vote of thanks by Prof. Hasina Hashia.

 

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