Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Singaporean Way of Projecting Islam

Just like Buddhism, the flavour is different in India, Thailand, China etc.
Just like Christianity, there's Scientology, Catholic, New Testament etc.
Islam is not left out for having the three orientations, Sunni, Shi'i Islam and Kharijis.

And different races which embrace a common religion may project it differently too.

Whatever religion it may be, in places where the level of intelligence and civilisation are higher, the better the way the society project what they stand for, at least that's how it should be. Being religious alone by practising everything that're asked by God without understanding the rationale behind it is useless.

What a big difference being just religious and being both religious and spiritually intelligent are.

I beg not to be labelled 'holier-than-thou' for saying the above. I may be digressing from what I really want to explain from the beauty I saw in this article I'd like to share, heads up of Shaukat Ali. It is such a gem to just let it fade away.

Written by: Shaukat AliFeb
15, 05 1:53pm
According to a report in the Singapore Straits Times recently, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has drawn up a tentative list of 10 desirable attributes for Singapore Muslims.According to the report, Muis put together this list '... after much brainstorming and dialogues' and will further discuss it with the Muslim community in Singapore this year.
According to Muis, a Singapore Muslim -

1. holds strongly to Islamic principles, but yet is adaptable to change when applying them in response to contemporary issues and challenges.

2. is morally and spiritually strengthened to face the challenges of modern society, especially the changing economy.

3. knows about Islamic history and civilisation, and is intellectually equipped to understand Islam and contemporary issues of the Islamic world.

4. believes that a good Muslim is also a good citizen.

5. is well adjusted to living in a secular state and multi-religious society, and contributes to Singapore and global humanity, including taking leadership roles.

6. is progressive, keeps up with the demands of modern society and practises Islam beyond rituals or form.

7. appreciates the richness of other civilisations, and is self-confident enough to interact with others and is prepared to learn from them.

8. is inclusive and practises pluralism where this does not go against Islamic principles.

9. wants to be a blessing to other communities by embracing universal values and principles, thus transcending minority status.

10. aims to be a model and inspiration to others.

It seems to me that all of the above would be relevant in the Malaysian context, especially when one looks at the angst generated by campaigns to instil Islamic values by dictate. What the Muslim community in Singapore is trying to do, as part of its "Singapore Muslim identity" project should be observed closely by the appropriate institutions in Malaysia.

It is worth noting, as the report said, that Muis, as part of the project, has been encouraging mosques to reach out to non-Muslims and improve their understanding of the religion; and to urge the 'madrasah' or religious school students to learn the humanities and sciences, and not just subjects on religion.Mosque leaders also receive training and attend courses to learn about national issues facing Singapore and social issues facing a globalised world.

It is ironic that the Muslim community in Singapore does not need a Jabatan Agama Islam enforcement counterpart or a group of the mat skodeng to monitor issues of morality in a resolutely secular, cosmopolitan city-state.That in itself should give us in Malaysia much food for thought.


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