|Day Three: Monday 8 December, 1997|
|In spite of the long journey to Bandung
the previous day, the group was in high spirits at Tahajjud and Fajr on the morning of the
third day in Indonesia.
That morning the delegation visited Tariqat Al Mutabarah, an umbrella organization representing all tariqas in Indonesia. Headed by Pak Idham Khalik, a retired government Minister, this organization has branches in each of the 27 provinces and 350 districts of the vast Indonesian archipelago. A loose confederation of more than 40 tariqas, it represents about 30 to 40 million Muslims who practice Tassawuf in their daily lives.
After discussions with Pak Idham, the delegation was taken on a tour of the educational complex attached to the associations headquarters, where we posed for photographs with some of the 3000 students.
The Indonesian government does not object to tariqa movements as such organizations promote universal love and peace and do not upset the harmony in this multi-religious country.
That afternoon a Malaysian Prince, His Royal Highness Raja Ashman Shah, joined the entourage. At 7 p.m., we left in a fleet of cars escorted by police motorcycle outriders to a public hall where Shaykh Kabbani was scheduled to give a talk.
The hall was filled to capacity with professionals, scholars, intellectuals and bureaucrats. The Islamic Supreme Council chairman spoke extemporaneously for about two hours. He appealed directly to the hearts of his listeners about the necessity for Muslims to be well educated in order to cope with modern technology. He talked about the keen interest that the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions had in educating the early Muslims in Mecca and Medina, even to the extent of recruiting educated prisoners to help in the propagation of knowledge.
The Quran contains many scientific facts he said, which are only now being discovered and many more are yet to be discovered. He touched on the fact that at Harvard University Americans are doing research on spirituality and its practical effects on health and well-being, while Muslims are turning ever more towards materialism as a solution to the Ummahs plight.
Shaykh Hisham stated that American Muslims have the right attitude towards education and that the average American Muslim is better educated than the majority of Americans. He mentioned how non-Muslims often prefer to send their children to Muslim run schools in America as these schools are free of drugs, alcohol and sex.
This talk was followed by a lively dialogue session. The audience obviously impressed with this scholar of grace and polish, gave him a standing ovation and lined up to shake his hand before leaving the hall.
This was followed on with press interviews and later a photo session where various people asked to take photographs with the delegation on the stage.