Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
6 December 2013 / 3 Safar 1435
Enriching The Practice Of Religion In
The Era Of Globalisation
Dear Friday jemaah,
On this noble Friday, let us increase our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. Let us commit ourselves to fulfilling all of Allah’s commands and leave behind what He has prohibited upon us.
Dear blessed jemaah
We are now living in a borderless world, almost as if the world is now smaller. Just look at how easy it is to communicate with friends and family members thousands of miles away. We can also now order goods from overseas merely with the touch of a button on our mobile phone screens, and it will arrive swiftly. More than that, we can now receive all sorts of information and latest news around the globe easily. This is referred to as globalisation, where the world is described as getting smaller and interactions between men all over the world is faster and more accessible.
This phenomenon also brings about many challenges to our religious life. There are various outside influences, thoughts and foreign lifestyles which may be against the Islamic principles that we understand. Therefore, it is important for us to boost our resilience. This is to help ensure that our faith will always bloom and our takwa will remain strong as we tide through the challenges of modernity.
Whatever the success that we aim to achieve in this world, it should not weaken our bond with Allah s.w.t. We should strive to be like those whose hearts and souls are always close to Allah s.w.t. as Allah has mentioned in surah Al-Anfal, verse 2:
Which means: “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely -”
Islam is a religion which encourages its followers to be forward-thinking and progressive within the framework of Islam as outlined in the Syariah. The glorious Islamic civilisations emphasized the formation of individuals with strong faith and religiously resilient communities with good manners and are broad-minded.
As a result, we can see how our past scholars have achieved progress and success in improving the lives of men. The Islamic civilisation that they have developed is based on iman (faith) and takwa (piety).
Despite the rapid developments and progress that were achieved, Islamic principles and values were never pushed aside. In fact, Islamic values were the spirit that drove the development of a civilisation that contributed to the advancement of humankind globally. This is what we should emulate, my brothers. We have to remain confident as we face the challenges of globalisation. In our efforts to curb the negative impacts of globalisation in our lives as well as our spirituality, we have to take advantage of the positive elements that arise as a result of globalisation, to benefit us both in this world and the hereafter.
My dear brothers,
As an example, we can ride on the wave of globalisation to spread the noble values taught in Islam to the global community. Rasulullah s.a.w reminded us that:
Which means: “Verily I have been sent to perfect good character.”
[Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad]
Thus with the ease of transportation and exchange of information today, we can easily introduce the values of ihsan (compassion), humanity (insan) and respect that was exemplified by Rasulullah’s character, to the entire world. For example, recently we saw how the Muslim community stepped forward to contribute to the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines through various humanitarian organisations and channels including the Rahmatan Lil’alamin Fund (RLAF).We also find that more of our youths have volunteered their time and energy to participate in humanitarian projects overseas during the school holidays to help improve the quality of lives to communities that are in need, at the same time bringing some hope and cheer to these poor communities outside Singapore.
The rapid development of information technology allows us to strengthen friendships and bring closer the bonds that tie us together. In today’s globalised world, we have no excuse not to stay in touch and communicate with friends and acquaintances. This is also encouraged by the Prophet s.a.w. in a hadith which means:
“Spread salam among you, serve the food, behave kindly with your blood relations, and offer prayer at night when others are asleep, and you will enter paradise safely.” [Narrated by Imam Ahmad and Tirmidzi]
Globalisation has given us a platform to improve our knowledge. Today, we are not limited by physical spaces in order to seek knowledge because we can easily attain knowledge and information through the cyberspace and virtual world. For example, if in the past we would have to step into a library or book store to borrow or buy books, today we can access various reading materials online through a computer, tablet or smart phone.
Besides that, we also have the opportunity to communicate and connect more closely with the Ulama and intellectuals globally through cyberspace as well as when they visit our country. Wherever we are, we can listen to and watch recordings of lectures by scholars (Ulama) from our own country as well as those based overseas. If we do not have time to listen to them live, then we should try and make time during this holiday season to listen and watch them with our families.
While rapid advancements in technology have brought with it a host of challenges, we can also take advantage of technology to enrich our religious life. For example, it is now very easy for us to determine the direction of kiblat and verify prayer times wherever we are, including in the airplane, simply by using applications that can be downloaded to our smartphones. This will ease our ibadah and fulfilling our religious obligations, and thus there are no excuses for us to miss our ibadah such as our prayers.
As more of our Muslim children pursue their education and training in the field of technology, we must ensure that they are motivated to apply their knowledge and skills to ensure that it benefits their religious lives as well as that of others. Let us make doa that there will be more Singaporean Muslims who would be able to make contributions to the advancements in technology for the improvement of the quality of lives globally
May Allah equip us with wisdom so that we are able to be of service to His deen through the use of technology which Allah has inspired in men. May Allah s.w.t. continue to protect us and our families in goodness.
Aamin ya Rabbal ‘Aalamin.