Imam Muda: The Program That Turned Germany Upside Down

Posted on August 2, 2010


The weather is soaring, human morals are plummeting, the younger generation is behaving like malfunctioned war machines and in the past couple of years the amount of abandon babies, young children, old folks and pets have shot up by so high that it deserves a featured spot in the Malaysian Book of Records.

Many blame this on the economy – unemployment, immigration, pathetic labour laws, exploitation, etc. In the next 18 months, many experts believe unemployment will hit one million. People I know who understand the dark, mythical world of “the economy” say we can forget about normal recessions. The one galloping over the horizon right now is going to be a tropical, industrial-grade whopper.

They say the next few years are going to be hell. Worse than anything in living memory. Adolf Hitler bad.

Interestingly, however, JAWI has decided that the biggest issue facing the nation right now is not the economy or the number of punctured bodies on every street corner. It’s the lack of moral leadership.

And so JAWI with the assistance from Astro Oasis came up with a new wheeze – Imam Muda.

Fascinatingly, after watching the episodes on YouTube, meeting some  of the contestants, their families and friends, visiting their hometown and watching the finals,I myself am now starting to think that this bizarre marriage between religion and pop culture might just actually work. Never mind that you lose your job, which means you have no income, which means your children may end up on the streets being stabbed. Happily, there is a way round the problem – faith.

The amount of potential good that the program has is unimaginable. Most notably, In a world where ethics is divorced from the pursuit of knowledge, Imam Muda fills in that crucial gap. Hence, I have some suggestions that briefly came to mind, which I personally feel would add to the integrity and value of Imam Muda.

Before listing those suggestions and comments, I would first and foremost like to thank Nicola of Der Spiegel for opening up my eyes and for nurturing a sense of excitement and pride for this locally produced program. Thank you to Nafise for thinking of me when Nicola contacted her and needed someone for her translating and fixing works. A special thanks to Aishah who made our journey in embracing the ideals and ethos of Imam Muda with such ease – sorry for having to bother you like all the time.

Below are the few comments and suggestions that I promised to give:

(1) Rather than placing the entire decision making process on the one ‘Mudir’ I would like to suggest that the role be extended to two more panelists whom are more if not equally as credible as the current ‘Mudir’ in the program. Decision however should remain a consensus and be up for vote only if there exist a continuous disagreement until the following show. Having said so, the role of the Mursyid should also remain as mentoring is one of the best and quickest learning experience.

(2) I would also like to add, that it would be interesting to also include Mudir(s) originating from different parts of the world i.e. Middle East and Europe/United States. The diversity is reflective of the role of the Imam as not merely leaders of their local community but an extension of leadership that includes the greater Muslim population. This would necessarily mean, that it would be a requirement for each participant to converse in Arabic, English and Malay. This would also make the program more susceptible to the international public.

(3)  The concept of Imam Muda should also be shared to other interested foreign media. In fact, it could also be an international venture by  multiple television broadcasters to develop Imam Muda with contestants from different parts of the world – an equivalent of the World Cup.

Anyways, congratulations to all involved in the production of the program. Congratulation Imam Muda Asyraf and hope to see the program grow and mature in the years to come.

Funny Trivia: The only two people that has managed to turned Germany upside down and received a standing ovation were the most evil men in human history – Adolf Hitler and David Hasselhoff. What does that make Imam Muda?

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