Muslims in Singapore making history

(c) Muhammad Haniff Hassan, April 2002

As Muslims, we are entrusted to be the best of the ummah. Hence it is our duty to spread goodness, avoid destruction and convey the message of Iman. In this regard, the concept that Muslims should live by is that of ‘amar ma’ruf and nahi munkar’ in da’wah. Refer Ali Imran : 110.

To realise this concept, it is essential that we work towards determining agendas, becoming agents of change and determining future trends. Without such efforts it would be impossible for our da’wah to reach out to our target audience – the whole of mankind.

Today, we can find Muslims living in most countries whether they are in the Middles-east or the West. Whether they form the majority or minority within a heterogeneous society, each Muslim should share the vision of realising ‘amar ma’ruf and nahi munkar’.

There is no easy formula to creating Khairu Ummah within the Muslims community. As a result Muslims in Singapore often see their contribution in producing a viable model of Khairu Ummah as being minute next to the Muslims in Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere. This negative mindset often equates being a minority with “disadvantage”. Can we be wrong?

Looking back in history will show that the world has always been influenced or led by minority groups. A current example is the American influence on economy, culture, entertainment, ideologies and politics. This is despite Americans representing only 4% of the world population. The same can be said about the influence of the Jews on the world. Going further back in history will reveal that the people of the empires of Rome and Persia were themselves minorities.

Hence being a minority amongst people of different races and beliefs should not stop us from creating a model that will realise Islam as a Rahmah (Mercy) for all mankind. And in today’s context, the model has to be cosmopolitan and urban in approach.

With over 6 billion people in the world, almost 1 billion are Muslims. This represents 16% of the world population, a proportion that is close to that of Muslims in Singapore. In addition, Muslims in Singapore also enjoy an environment characteristic of the global environment ie modern, cosmopolitan, heterogeneous and urban.

The similarities between the Muslims in Singapore and those at a global level, should provide the incentive for Muslims in Singapore to produce their own model of a Muslim community. Certainly given its similarities, this model will be more viable if it is adopted globally compared to the models offered by other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where Muslims are the majority.

Hence being a minority can make us significant in our own ways.Muslims in Singapore also enjoy the benefits of globalisation – giving us an edge over other Muslim communities. This should be a motivation for us to double our efforts, to create history for Muslims and the world. We must believe strongly that those who strive the hardest will gain its benefits and those who keep walking will reach their destinations.