Eid Mubarak! Selamat Hari Raya!
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Allah’s Blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and his righteous nation.
Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Ramadan 1438 Hijrah is fast coming to an end, and we pray that Allah The Compassionate accept our good deeds and magnify them, and remove all bad deeds from our account. And we pray that He grant us the means and the strength to continue to improve our ibadah, and become better human beings that bring benefit to our community and nation.
I am writing this note from London, United Kingdom, where I have been since September last year, pursuing a Masters course at the SOAS University of London. Living in London since then has given me a really intense and broad learning experience, not only at my institution of learning but also as a community member of London and UK. As I sat in my university or at home, at every instance the shock does not elude me when I learn of the recent spate of terror attacks – Westminster attack (March 2017), the Manchester Arena suicide bombing (22 May 2017), the London Bridge attack (3 June 2017), and just a few days ago, the Finsbury Park Mosque attack (19 June 2017). While many of these incidents were perpetrated by radicalised Muslims, the most recent Finsbury Park Mosque attack was perpetrated by a non-Muslim.
These terror incidents come about and are bred by an ideology of hatred – hatred against non-Muslims and their Western lifestyle, or hatred against Muslims derived from Islamophobia. My friend Haras Rafiq, a terrorism analyst, accurately sums up saying that Islamist extremists and anti-Muslim extremists are basically “two sides of the same coin, and as one grows so does the other”.
The major lesson for me as a living community member of the city of London is how the communities come together during these difficult times. People of all faiths, gender, race and social classes comes together to eliminate anything that can possibly drive a wedge between them, between Muslims and people of other faiths (or no faiths).
And, this spirit of silaturahim (Malay for “upholding ties of kinship and friendship”) was even more evident during the horrifying Grenfell Tower fire (14 May 2017), which engulfed almost in its entirety the 24-storey building in West London. The inferno left entire families dead, hundreds injured, and many still unaccounted for. While I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma the victims are facing, a great lesson for me was witnessing how the communities came together, the likes of which the people of London, and I, have probably not seen or experienced in a long time. The community spirit was simply incredible, with people and charities coming together to help the victims deal with their trauma and to provide food, clothing, and accommodation for them all.
The victims, irrespective of their faith, received aid from Muslim charities like National Zakat Foundation, Penny Appeal, and Islamic Relief. Muslims organised street iftar to host meals for the Grenfell victims and volunteers. The Al-Manar Mosque opened its space to provide a temporary shelter for the victims and became an operations centre for people to donate food, clothing, etc for the victims. The actions of Muslims and the various Muslim charities greatly manifest the beauty of Islam and exemplifies the merciful and beautiful teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him. This is it. There is nothing greater than taking care of Allah’s creation, and to me, this is ibadah or worship at its max.
Living in Singapore in peace and security, we often take such things for granted. But, my experience living in a modern metropolitan city clearly demonstrates that we should never do so. Ultimately, we must constantly remind ourselves to be grateful to Allah for his gifts – “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour)” (AL-Qur’an 14:7). As we come to the end of Ramadan and rejoice in the moral victory, let us thank Allah The Majestic for His Provisions, His Favours, our health, our families, our friends, and the peace, safety, and security we are blessed with in Singapore. Alhamdulillah! All Praises be to Him!
The ideology of hatred and its adherents will not stop at anything to drive us against each other and to rob us of the peace and tranquility we have built over the years. Extremism is real. Just in the last 2 years alone, 16 people have been detained in Singapore for self-radicalisation. In many of these cases, family members and friends could have prevented their radicalisation process and their eventual detention by being vigilant and conscious of the development of our family and friends. I have written a short guide on self-radicalisation, which perhaps may be useful to you (see link below). Feel free to read and share:
On a more positive note, recently SimplyIslam.sg organised our 10th Annual Ramadan Charity Basket, which was attended and officiated by Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Health. Alhamdulillah, we are pleased that Muslims in Singapore and abroad have contributed about $60,000 for the annual project. Over 200 families have benefited this year, receiving groceries, Eid cookies and cash as well. Scores of volunteers also helped out in the packing & distribution of packages across the island. Jazakallahu Khair to all of them!
As we celebrate Eidul Fitr, or Hari Raya, please continue to pray for those around the world who are facing a lot of difficulties. May Allah Almighty alleviate their suffering and grant them ease, safety and peace, and we pray that He continue to keep us all in His Divine Mercy, Safety, Protection and Favours, and increase us in our closeness to Him and His Beloved Messenger, Sayyidina Muhammad, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him. Ameen. Al-Fatiha.
The Management, Staff, Teachers, Students and Volunteers at SIMPLYISLAM.SG wish you a blessed Eidul Fitr, Selamat Hari Raya! Eid Mubarak! We wish you taqabbala Allah minna wa minkum (May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you). We also seek your forgiveness for all our shortcomings. Minal aidin wal faidzin (May you be among those who return to purity and among those granted glory). Kullu am wa antum bikhair (May you be well throughout the year). Ameen Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.
As-Siddiq Centre for Islamic Studies Pte Ltd