An Open Letter to all Muslims in Singapore
Audhubillahi min as-shaytaani rajeem,
Bismillahi Rahmaani Raheem.
Assalaamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh to our dear readers,
In the past few weeks, we have seen a series of Islamophobic postings by Jason Neo, Christian Eliab Ratnam and Donaldson Tan. While some segments of society, and even the local media may have portrayed it as a racial issue, it isn’t and we shouldn’t make it into one either.
Although their postings may have been offensive, the reactions and comments that we have seen from members of our Muslim community have been far from praiseworthy. Now that things have simmered, it is time to ask ourselves:
- Did I have anything to do with how they perceive Islam and Muslims?
- Have I ever portrayed my faith in a manner that would have contributed to their impression of Islam and Muslims?
The blame game is a dirty one and is rarely beneficial. As Muslims, we should reflect on our actions and our deeds instead of pointing the finger at others and rest on our laurels, feeling victimized. If they received false or misleading information about Islam, then it is our duty to rectify that.
At the workplace, are we lazy or dishonest in our dealings? If we are students, do we cheat on our examinations, or hand in shoddy work? Have we been remiss in our akhlaq?
Each and every of our actions send out a message to all those who are watching. If we committed a sin, we can make tawbah and harbour hopes that Allah will forgive us. But if we send out messages that Muslims are lazy, bigoted, rude, backwards, then who can we blame but ourselves if the society looks at us with disdain?
Prophet Muhammad’s Sublime Character
In the Qur’an, Allah said the following regarding Prophet Muhammad (S):
And most surely, you have an exalted moral character. (68:4)
Indeed in the (Prophetic) Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example (to follow) for him whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. (33:21)
Hind b. Abi Hala said:[box_light]
Prophet Muhammad was predisposed to refrain from unseemly language, curses and revilings and deeds shameful; he never said or did anything improper; he never raised his voice in a marketplace, nor returned evil for evil; rather, he was given to forgive and forget. Never in his life did he lay his hands on anyone save in a fight for the sake of God, nor did he ever strike anybody with his hand, neither a servant nor a woman.
I never saw him exacting retribution for any offence or excess excepting when the honour of God was concerned or the limit set by God was transgressed, in which case he would become angrier than anybody else. If he had the choice between two courses, he would choose the easier one. When he came to his house, he engaged in the work of a commoner, cleaned his garments, milked the sheep and performed the household chores.
He was not given to idle talk; he spoke only when he was concerned and comforted the people instead of giving them a scare through his speech.
He was always as cautious in his dealings with the people as he was overcareful in forming an estimate about them, although he never denied anyone his courtesy and sweet temperament.
He paid such attention to everyone attending his meetings that everybody thought that none attracted his notice like himself. If anybody asked him to sit down or spoke of his affair, the Prophet (peace be upon him) listened to him patiently and gave heed to him until he had finished his talk and departed. If anybody asked for something or wanted his help, he never allowed him to leave without disposing of his business or at least comforted him with words kind and sweet. Such was his grace and kindness to one and all that everybody took him as his father. In regard to what was right and proper, he regarded all on the same plane.
His were the gatherings of knowledge and edification, of seemliness and modesty, of earnestness and probity. Neither anybody talked in a loud voice, nor censured others, nor cast a reflection on anybody, nor found fault with others; all were equal on even ground, and only those enjoyed a privilege who were more pious and God-fearing.[/box_light]
Only by following the Prophet’s teachings and manners can we fight Islamophobia, or to dispel the grievances and doubts that others might have about us. We have to be the most righteous of people, the most virtuous, polite and kind people, no matter who we are dealing with. The Prophet had come only to perfect our manners and we should rise to that call now, more than ever.
Tomorrow insyaAllah we will be greeting the new Hijrah year 1433H. It is the best time to put such incidents behind us and to now look forward to a better year, a better us, and better relations with our fellow citizens. In conjunction with hijrah, we should also make our own migration: to move from apathy to engagement and to move from ‘victims’ to dynamic, contributive members of society.
We should take ownership of our identity and our faith. If not now, then when?
“Repel evil with what is better: then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend an intimate!” (Surah Fussilat 41:34)
And Allah knows best.
Salaam Ma’al Hijrah from us at Muzlimbuzz.sg