22 November 2023
1. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), together with partner religious organisations Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association (PERGAS), Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), and Asatizah Youth Network (AYN) held a forum to discuss and provide guidance for the different segments of the Singapore Muslim community on the Middle East conflict.
2. The forum aims to foster a deep understanding of the issues at hand from the local Islamic point of view, and to explore ways in which the Religious Leadership organisations can guide the Muslim community towards better understanding and dealing with this challenging issue.
3. Following the session, the Islamic religious bodies representing the Muslim religious leadership in Singapore has developed a religious advice for the community in comprehending and approaching these developments. It also elucidates the principles and religious values that should form the basis for the response and reaction of Muslims towards conflicts. It is our hope that this guidebook will be of benefit to the community in navigating the myriad and complex challenges that we face today.
4. The advice emphasises on the Islamic view on oppression and aggression; that it rejects any form of oppression, regardless of who the perpetrator is. Consequently, Islam prioritises the pursuit of world peace (as-Salām), as a crucial factor in preserving the sanctity of human life and rejects enmity and animosity among each other.
5. Islam acknowledges human emotions, including sorrow and grief and encourages us to express these feelings in appropriate ways. In responding to life’s challenges, including global crisis such as the one currently happening in Gaza, the reaction and response of the Muslim community should be guided by religious principles, and the immutable values of our religion. This is in line with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
6. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has resulted in religious texts and hadiths related to end time events being widely shared via social media. The Muslim community should refer to the interpretations of the authoritative scholars and understand the context of these texts well, so that there will not arise any confusion and panic that would prevent them from making continuous contributions to the well-being and prosperity of their community.
7. The Muslim community in Singapore is in a unique position, which may not be the same as the situation of Muslim communities in other countries. The advice calls on Muslim here to continue to preserve the atmosphere of peace in this country, and not expose it to any threat of division or strife caused by geopolitical conflicts.
8. Youth are often idealistic and passionate about making positive change in the world. The advice also highlights the importance to recognise and support the contributions of young people, and to avoid dismissing their ideas and perspectives as naive or uninformed. It is crucial to provide a good support network, comprising people such as our family members, good friends, teachers, or asatizah.
9. Having a good support network would mean that youth have people who they can rely on, and with whom they feel safe to share their feelings and concerns with. These people can help them to renew their intentions, put their thoughts into perspective, and allow them to have a more balanced view on issues that are close to our hearts. The advice also shared tips on how to recognise red flags as part of efforts take care of themselves and avoid burnout when engaged in advocacy work.
10. This advice will be further shared with the community via weekly Friday sermon, as well as through various social media and online platforms. Full text of the advice (in Malay) can be viewed at the following link: https://go.gov.sg/oom-krisistimurtengah. The English version will be made available at a later date.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA