Singapore as Sin City
While some Singaporeans have raised concerns with regards to casinos being opened here, others have helped the industry expand successfully. The gambling industry, which is estimated to gain $6.4 billion this year is set to outplay Las Vegas as the second largest gambling spot in the world.
From the outstanding response out of Singapore’s major debut in the gambling industry, progressive and liberal Singaporeans find the casinos a lovely fortune for the country. Las Vegas was slumped to the third spot of the industry as an affliction of the global recession due to its lack of growth in the market. The recession, being a turning point for Singapore with the opening of Resorts World Sentosa and the casinos have proven to be a boost for its tourism rates, economy and publicity.
If previously a casino-banning country, Singapore is now known as one of the prominent “gambling meccas” of the world.[pullquote_left]If previously a casino-banning country, Singapore is now known as one of the prominent “gambling meccas” of the world.[/pullquote_left]
The presence of the casinos on this island have provided more job opportunities, raked in huge earnings and have become a critical factor with regards to tourism as a crucial component for Singapore’s economy.
“The Singapore casinos are by far the most expensive ones in the region,” says Gabriel Chan, head of Asian gaming research for Credit Suisse, who points out that an average casino in Macau costs roughly half as much.
The opening of the casinos were of great concern to the conservative community we have here as well as the Muslims. Some concerns include the worry of gambling becoming a culture and an addiction besides the fact that the casinos would have uplifted Singapore’s liberal concept to another level, leading to the opening of other avenues which are socially complex.
From a Singaporean Muslim’s point of view, the term “gambling mecca” itself is very displeasing, especially since Mecca is a holy city to us where sacred religious activities take place.
As the gambling sector expands and provides more job openings here, it raises concerns for Muslims who are striving and unemployed. Gambling is forbidden in Islam, as written in the Holy Quran:
Verse 219 of Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2 of the Qur’an reads:
“They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great harm, and a benefit for the people; but their harm is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you how much are they to give, Say: “The excess.” It is thus that God clarifies for you the revelations that you may think.”
[pullquote_right]“They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great harm, and a benefit for the people; but their harm is greater than their benefit.”[/pullquote_right]
If it is stated that gambling brings great harm and more harm than benefit in the book of Allah, there must be a great amount of harm involved when gambling is widespread and encouraged in a country.
There are two casinos in Singapore and the progress they have made in the industry brings possibilities for more openings of competing casinos. These places, aimed at the sole purpose of gambling might possibly mean more social discrepancies and in other words, more harm.
Las Vegas was termed Sin City not solely because of its gambling eden, but also because of its variety of adult entertainment and indulgence in activities that are ‘sinful’.
If these articles are terming Singapore as Sin City, are they also not denying the possibility of such forms of entertainment and activities in Singapore?
People might find it highly unlikely, considering Singapore’s conservative aspect with regards to its strict censorship of media and things alike. But if previously Singapore banned casinos, and it has now overtaken Las Vegas as one of the largest gambling spots in the world, nothing actually seems very unlikely for Singapore and there are various possibilities for its future.
With the rise of such platforms, the Muslim community can perhaps work towards bringing our brothers and sisters together to combat the various temptations and challenges of life today. As time passes, there will be more issues raised pertaining to safeguarding one’s faith in a modern civilization. But perhaps there is wisdom behind that and instead of trying to combat the building of more casinos, entertainment buildings and such, one can work towards a more feasible aspect of serving the Ummah and make personal efforts in strengthening the faith.
May Allah make things easy for us and safeguard our faith with His Guidance. Ameen.
Verily, He is All-Knowing. Wallahu’alam.
A flawed servant with a voice to and for trust. Your sister in faith, your friend in deen and your Ummah in congregation