Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh,
There had been an uproar in Sgp recently when the Government made an insensitive remark about Islam. Some of the comments he (if you know who I’m referring to) made were that Muslims in Singapore should be ‘less strict’ and that Islam is the prime reason for Muslims not being able to integrate into the society. Other outrageous remarks made such that due to our strict dietary observances, we do not assimilate with the other races well; as we tend to have separate food courts due to different hygiene approach.
Personally, I’ve never heard such something as absurd as that. Be ‘less strict’? That’s insulting! It’s like telling the Christians to stop attending Sunday Mass or encouraging Hindus to eat beef (Hindus believe cows to be their god so they avoid beef) or the Buddhist Monks to stop dressing in their yellow dress. Muslims – and in fact I daresay for everyone else – should have the liberty to practise their religion as long as it does not disrupt peace and stability of the country. How does compromising one’s belief promote harmony in the society???
In contrary to what he said, I propose that the Muslim community be MORE strict in their religion. The rise in religiosity should not be a threat to Sgp’s racial harmony since if they truly adhere closely to the teachings from Qur’an and Sunnah, it would not lead to disintegration. For example, we can emulate Prophet’s ways in dealing with non-Muslims in a respectful way. He, sallallahu alayhi salam, ordained that we must not forget Islamic manners in dealing with both Muslims and non-Muslims. One of the ahadeeth that we are familiar with is the one about being kind to our neighbors:
“The best of companions with Allah is the one who is best to his companions, and the best of neighbours to Allah is the one who is the best of them to his neighbour”. [At-Tirmidhi].
There are other examples whereby we are forbid from mocking other religion although we do not agree with them. The Prophet has taught us that even when someone wrongs us, it should not be our nature to retaliate against them but to forgive instead. Also, he taught us that when dealing with others, [again] Muslim and Non-Muslim alike, we should be just and not cheat others…. and the examples are endless of course.
It is when people stray away from His path that causes a lot of disruptions and and in fact, increases the social vices in the society. When one has a religion, especially for someone who follows its laws, will behave according to its teachings of encouraging good and avoiding evil (I believe that most religions teach us to do good).
I feel that his comment does not do justice to Muslims especially since it merely reflects the minute percentage who goes to the extreme of wanting to hurt others. If he even had an ounce of interest in learning about Islam, he’ll understand that it is stated in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Maidah:
“..if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” ayaah 32
Apart from that, Muslims should not be made to compromise their beliefs and practices just to achieve ‘peace’ or in this case, integration. In reality, Muslims are very much integrated in Sgp thus there is no need for us to forgo our obligations/restrictions. Sgp has always prided itself on its cultural diversity and religious tolerance and is fortunate that we have not seen any racial discord. It is my personal opinion that we should focus on fostering stronger ties with each community instead of what he suggested. Our country can do best without him interfering in our religious duties.