It’s been almost a week since the comments made by MM Lee in his new book ‘Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going’ has been published with varied responses from the local Muslim organisations here.
Only MUIS, AMP and Perdaus has issued statements so far. MUIS has taken a more diplomatic stance preferring not to refute the comments and instead issued a statement to highlight the successful efforts over the years towards integrating Islam to Singapore’s society whilst AMP and Perdaus has refuted the comments.
To read AMP’s statement click HERE
To read Perdaus’s statement click HERE
Whilst the Muslim community here would love to see the other Muslim organisations in Singapore step out to comment on this matter, it is evident that since most of the other Muslim organisations are government-linked and hence, their matters are managed by the Malay Muslim Members of Parliament who have not made any comments to this incident as well.
In a recent conversation with a friend who’s affliated to one of the MMPs, I was informed that it is not that they do not want to speak out against the issue to defend the morality of Islam but rather, have kept silent to ‘save’ the representation of Malay Muslims in Singapore because word has it that there are plans to oust as many MMPs out of parliament in light of the pending elections. (I cannot confirm this, nor can my source or the person who informed my source and hence, this is merely an assumption or conspiracy theory)
Having said that, whilst that would no doubt have angered many Muslims for their inability to defend Islam, I came across a journal that was handed out to me recently at a talk organised by Darul Arqam or the Muslim Converts Association. In it, therein lies an article which I found apt to the situation facing Islam in Singapore today and for that, justified to be shared to all reading this now and I hope those reading this will share this with many others.
The title of the article in mention is ‘The Art of Defence: Patience, Humility and Da’wah – Defending Islam and its sanctity with Islamic values, not violence’.
Such a title couldn’t have gone unnoticed and I thank god that I didn’t throw this journal away without reading it.
In it, it mentions about the different ways that a Muslim can do to defend Islam without the need for violence and highlights about how the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions (RA) had reacted in the name of defence when faced with threats during their time. In one of those encounters, the Prophet (SAW) and Zayd (RA) were driven out of the town of Thaif as they tried to convey Islamic teachings by stones being thrown at them. When angel Gabriel (AS) asked the Prophet (SAW) if he’d like to have the town people destroyed, Prophet (SAW) instead opted to pray for their forgiveness and ignorance instead.
Secondly, and as how I have always believed, knowledge is important and when taking a reaction towards something, it should be able to educate others and enlighten others. A defence could either instigate further hatred and disunity in the community or it could pave a way for Da’wah.
So what then should be done when faced with such threatening situations, or in situations such as what Islam in Singapore is facing today?
Taken from the journal, ‘The Prophet (SAW) said in a Hadith related by Muslim, “When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest faith” (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Chapter 21)’
The three levels of defensive action that should be taken by a Muslim in the face of threat is as follows:
- Strive and take every effort to justify and transform the situation with anything within our means and capacity.
- Meet and establish a relationship aimed at building mutual respect and understanding.
- If the above fails, the least is to acknowledge the situation in our hearts.
These steps should be taken with the intention of maintaining peace and establishing Da’wah in mind with knowledge and vision.
Further to the above, the journal also mentions about how as Muslims, we should aspire to nurture ourselves and cultivate the true essence of a Da’ie (caller to Islam) in adversities.
Reading the journal further stemmed my belief in Islam, just when I was about to lose hope in it since I haven’t heard or read any statement issued by our MMPs and MMOs. These individuals probably fall under No 3, whereby they only acknowledge it in their hearts.
I still prefer that they speak up for the community though.
Nevertheless, best thing we can all do now is to show our solidarity in facing this challenge and come out stronger as a community.