June 07, 2007

Unity in Diversity

Khutbah from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
Originally published: 3 December 2004 / 20 Syawal 1425H


Blessed Friday congregation,

On this blessed Friday, let us heighten our zeal and taqwa to Allah (swt) and let us carry all that He has commanded us to do and abstain all that He has forbidden. Let us hope that we will leave this world with deep faith in His religion.


Blessed Friday congregation,

In last week's sermon, the khatib shared on tolerance being one of the noble values that must be practiced by all those who are faithful.

This highly encouraged value can only be realized when we truly understand and trust that among the tests Allah have for us is through His diverse creations. Allah (swt) commanded in Al-Ma'idah (5), ayat 48:

"To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but that He may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds."


Respected Friday congregation,

Diversity is a sunnah of Allah's creation. On the creation of men, we see diversity in race, culture, language and faith. Men are different in size, looks and skin color. Men too have varied interests, emotions, way of thinking, ambitions and more.

Let us look and ponder on nature. It too has its variety. The flowers and herbs have different shapes, colors and usage. The same goes for the insect life. Insects have got varied shapes, colors, sizes and abilities in managing the environment they breed in. In ecology, we see variations in weather, temperatures and seasons that follow the natural ecological cycle and Allah's will.

However, what is it that binds all of us? What is it that binds all of His creations? What is it that makes all of us the same? The thing that makes us similar is that we are all creations of Allah (swt) and we submit to the will of Allah (swt)


Dear Brothers,

Let us reflect on the beauty of Allah's creation, which are diverse in colors and beauty. It is actually a nikmat to those who wish to take opportunity of this diversity without hating nor ignoring it altogether.

This beauty in diversity needs to be protected and cherished so that it does not fall into bad hands or those schools of thought that are narrow, extreme and unbalanced, which rejects the sunnah of diversity in men's life and the universe.


Blessed Brothers,

Islam teaches us that in us acknowledging diversity, we too need to do so guided by balance and maintaining harmony amongst mankind.

Islam teaches us that all matters have their respective rights that are in line with Allah's laws and the laws of the universe. Islam teaches its followers to always be moderate in managing varying lifestyles and thinking, and not to follow one's desires blindly.

We acknowledged that the current state now is open to conflicts pertaining to differentiation in understanding. In addition to the fitnah of today's living where people are getting too liberal and taking mannerisms and pride too lightly. These have made people without pride like how Allah said in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5), ayat 49:

"And so judge among them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you far from that which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allah's Will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most of men are rebellious and disobedient to Allah.

As we accept diversity and differences, it should not push us in giving away our identity until we get ourselves mixed up or rid of uniqueness.


Beloved Friday congregation,

In Islam we acknowledge the diversity in religion and way of life. Notwithstanding, we should manage the differences maturely and fairly so that it does not evoke any rifts. If that happens, it will be at the loss to the whole community.

The history of human civilizations has proved that there are two differences that will bring to the downfall. One is differences in behavior and, two, differences in thinking.

Islam encourages differences that promote diversity but not differences that promote disunity in the society. The differences in diversity should work together on the basis of mutual respect, strengthening and complementing one another. Islam encourages diversity in activities and thoughts, but it should not fall prey to the disintegration of ukhuwwah and social ties. In one hadith sahih narrated by Imam Bukhari, Rasulullah (saw) said:

"Do not breed hatred, jealousy and promoting ill-feeling. Be servants of Allah who are kindreds to one another, and no Muslim is to ignore a fellow Muslim for more than three days."


Blessed Friday congregation,

Cherish the diversity as a gift from Allah (swt). Administer this diversity by uniting the hearts to be self-strengthening. Make diversity a rahmat that will bring good to Islam and the lives of all humankind. Let us instill the spirit of togetherness in the hearts of Muslims and the nation and be careful with internal and external factors that are striving to disunite us from being united in diversity.

Remember that syaitan is the man's closest enemy. Syaitan are constantly striving to disintegrate the human nation from respecting one another and living harmoniously. Remember, "Syaitan is the wolf amongst human beings, and the wolf will only prey on those lost from their group."


Glossary:
Fitnah: Civil strife, war, riots.
Hadith: Reports on the sayings and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) or what he witnessed and approved are called hadith (plural: ahadith). These are the real explanation, interpretation, and the living example of the Prophet (saw) for teachings of the Qur'an. His sayings are found in books called the hadith books. Some famous collectors of hadith are Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam An-Nasa'i, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam At-Tirmizi, and Imam Majah. There are many others.
Khatib: Orator, speaker, the one who delivers the khutbah (sermon).
Nikmat: Gift, blessing, satisfaction, enjoyment, comfort, comfortable, delicious, enjoyable, grace, luxury, pleasant, sensuous.
Rahmat: Mercy, clemency.
Rasulullah: The Prophet of God, Muhammad (saw).
Sahih: Healthy and sound with no defects, used to describe an authentic hadith.
(saw): These letters are abbreviations for the words “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam,” which means, “may the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him.” When the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, a Muslim is to respect him and invoke this statement of peace upon him.
Sunnah: In this context, sunnah means a recommended practice, something that should be done but is not obligatory.
(swt): These letters are abbreviations for the words of “Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.” When the name of Almighty Allah is pronounced, a Muslim is to show his respect to Him by reciting this. The meaning of this statement is that Allah is purified of having partners or a son.
Syaitan: The Bahasa Melayu spelling of Shaitan. Shaitan (Satan) is the source of evil in the world. He always tries to misguide and mislead people. The Qur’an states that Satan is not an angel but a member of the Jinn. His other name is Iblis.
Taqwa: The condition of piety and God-consciousness that all Muslims aspire to achieve or maintain. It can be said that one's taqwa is a measure of one's faith and commitment to God. The love and fear that a Muslim feels for Allah (swt). A person with taqwa desires to be in the good pleasures of Allah (swt) and to stay away from those things that would displease Allah (swt). He is careful not to go beyond the bounds and limits set by Allah (swt).
Ukhuwwah: Brotherhood.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 73 :: Hadith 91
Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle said, "Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days."