We are here at Wrest Point Hotel Hobart, Tasmania today on Saturday the 24th of March 2012 with the remarkable writer Mr. Syed Hussien Al-Attas or as friends would call him Pak-Habib. Today we will probe Pak Habib into the uncovering of The University of Life. We will start by asking Pak-Habib a few questions:
1. Among the Malays, who in your opinion would be deemed as exemplary models that are worth of being written down in future historical books?
2. How can the University of Life, according to you solve and tackle all of today’s major problems i.e; social illness, economic downturns and environmental problems?
Pak Habib: I will start by answering your first question, In order for people to deem as worthy of remembrance we must begin communicating the right message. Let me give you an example, from the metaphysical world I would quote the renowned Hamzah Fansuri he is remembered of his knowledge of the ‘Wahdatul-wujud’. The concept simply understands that we were not only created to serve a physical existence, however there is a deeper spiritual dimension to our being. God lies within; people like Ibn Arabi, Imam Al-ghazali and the like have espoused the same teaching of divinity that lives within man.
The strength of the human being is not in the physical body, true strength comes from our spiritual potential. Friedrich Nietzsche talks about the death of God; according to him when God dies the Ego is the one that triumphs where human will disown his unity with his creator and act in a brash and condescending manner. However I believe that as human to reach our full potential we have to attain the degree of ‘Insanul-Kamil’ the perfect human. This is key in solving much of the global issue. Most of the world problems arise today because mankind has disconnected from God either, politically, socially or even environmentally.
The only solution for us is to rediscover our purpose sent down to this blessed world. God has sent us down as a ‘khalifah’ a vicegerent, a trustee; we are the manifestation of God on this earth. We should therefore live according to the manual that was given to us in the first place. A driver has to read the manual of his car before he can understand the recurring problems, before he can fully utilize every button.
We are in fact walking around as the shadow of God, to be true and virtuous starts by assimilating Godly actions. Islam is peace and as a Muslim I believe that peace starts within me before it could grow in the world. The problem today is that the world is run by people who are like flies on the cow’s dung. They are small but they actually think that they own what is not rightfully theirs.
The University of Life is not an academic education, if you graduate today that does not guarantee you a secure future or even any peace of mind. It is however a more insightful method of self-discovery or more accurately God-discovery. We are about learning from nature, if you walk in our front door a few footsteps away you will be seduced by the sight of the clear running stream and the sound of water passing through mineral rocks from the mountain.
To engage the students we use all the five senses by applying the five senses therapy to instill a deeper more profound learning experience. I am always asked by visitors on why I keep planting trees any chance that I have. Well its simple I am doing something for the world, it gives oxygen, fruits and some good shade for everyone. And we can also learn a great deal from plants and trees, to start with we might benefit a whole lot learning to be patient like the trees. Patience and tolerance is an indispensable quality
in today’s age.
A Rambutan tree as an example is always a sought after fruit by kids who have nothing better to do than to throw sticks so they can have a taste in the delicious fruit most of the time the trees weren’t planted by them. When sticks are thrown you don’t here stories of Rambutans throwing rocks back at kids, they actually give them the fruit and still grow more. That is how we should be as human no to retaliate in evil acts but to reciprocate and give back virtues.
We are trying to implement new settings in the hearts of our students; people who graduate from public universities unfortunately are not taught how to be honest, trustworthy and kind. We are trying to reconnect them to their God side aka their good side.