Seminar: Salafism and Politics: The Malaysian Case






Amongst the unanticipated consequences of the Arab Spring is the emergence of the ‘political Salafis’ in some countries affected by the uprisings. However, in Malaysia, a group of Salafi preachers actually preceded their brethrens in Egypt by joining the ruling nationalist party UMNO in the year 2009. This they did under certain circumstances. They have justified their participation in UMNO with some Salafist theological arguments, mainly the doctrine of ‘total obedience to the rulers’ (Ta’at Wulat al-Umur), ‘the prohibition of rebelling against the rulers’ (Tahrim al-Khuruj ‘ala al-Hukkam) and the doctrine of ‘necessity renders prohibited things permissible’ (al-Darurat tubihu al-mahzurat).

This talk will, through both theoretical and empirical investigations, critically analyze the participation of a group of Salafis in Malaysian politics and their motivations, which have led to a tectonic shift in Salafism’s theological position towards participation in the democratic process. This participation as a pre-supposed synthesis will be discussed within the theoretical framework of global Salafism.



Dr Maszlee Malik did his undergraduate studies in the field of fiqh and usul fiqh at al-Bayt University, Jordan in 1994, and holds a master’s degree in the same field from the University of Malaya. He obtained his doctorate degree (PhD) in Political Science from Durham University, United Kingdom.

Maszlee lectured at Durham University in 2008-9, and was also a guest speaker for the SOAS summer school on ‘Political Islam’ for the two consecutive years of 2009-2010 on the topic ‘Political Islamic Movements in South-East Asia’. He has had vast experience doing NGO charity works in Lebanon and Jordan since 2004, which gave him experience in dealing with political literature in the Arabic language and the political situation in the Middle East. Maszlee is also frequently invited as guest speaker by the Malaysian mass media to talk on issues related to Political Islam, Middle Eastern Politics and the Arab Spring.

He is currently assistant professor in the Faculty of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences at the International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. His research area is in Islamic jurisprudence, Contemporary Islamic Political Thoughts and Movements and Good Governance.



To register, please complete this form and email it to by 20 September 2015.


Sep 21 2015


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2