Prophet Muhammad had said in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah:

Which means: “The strong man is not one who is good at physical fights, but the strong man is one who controls himself in a fit of rage.” [Hadith reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Let us instil in ourselves a deep appreciation of the noble values taught by Rasulullah. These basic values should constitute the foundations of our religious life. A Muslim identity should thus be one that is identified by these noble values, and forgiveness is one such value. Our aim is to emulate the character of the Prophet Muhammad whom Allah honours in the Quran:

Which means: And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” [Surah al-Qalam, verse 4]

Accordingly, we must therefore always be mindful of the impact and consequences of our every word and action. Do we hurt others? Do we violate their rights? Do we make others suffer or make things difficult for them?

Asking these questions is a commitment we have to make in order to ensure that our actions and speech will continue to be in line with what the religion has demanded of us. While compassion leads to excellence; without compassion, we cannot develop a successful and excellent ummah.

And without forgiveness and compassion, we become harsh and rigid. When harshness and rigidity start taking root in us, we begin to hate. When we hate, we might begin to isolate ourselves and reject other views and perspectives. When this happens, we may become susceptible to ideologies that promote hatred and violence. Violence and bloodshed will follow suit, and this will only bring about further destruction. Let us ask ourselves: is this why our beloved Rasulullah was sent to us? Was this the reason why the Holy Quran was revealed? Is this why we build mosques and madrasahs?

No, not at all. Many events of late have affected people’s perceptions of our religion. We thus have a big task ahead of us to rectify this situation and reclaim the image of Islam. We have a growing responsibility to not allow insidious influences from penetrating into our community and cause chaos and disunity.

One of our most crucial roles is to safeguard peace and prosperity. Recently, a group of foreign workers who were arrested and deported for involvement in radical ideologies. Just before that, a terrorist attack took place in the heart of Jakarta. And prior to that, there was a terrorist attack in Istanbul. At the same time, the militant group, ISIS, continues with its barbarity and violence, determined as it was to spread chaos and panic around the world.

These events tell us that the threat of extremist and violent ideologies is not fictitious. They do not amuse, but they worry the global community and has major implications on the entire humankind, and especially Muslims.

If we wonder how we might help our religion, then let us seize the opportunity that Allah has presented before us. Let us come together and strengthen our resilience so as to protect the sanctity of our religion. Protect the nobleness of the teachings of our beloved Rasulullah. Never allow anything to compromise the peaceful and progressive life that we enjoy in our country, especially claims and ideas guise under the name of Islam, using verses from the Quran and hadith with thwarted interpretations to fit problematic agendas of calling Muslims to hatred and isolation. The duty to save Islam from the influences that can taint our religion falls on nobody else but ourselves.

We need to uphold the religious teachings and practices that are rooted in Islamic principles and in sync with the realities of today’s world. Our religious life must convince others that Islam too, supports development and progress, that Islam relevant for
all times.

This is indeed one of our most pressing challenges today. Let us strive harder to be agents of change to problematic assumptions and perceptions. This is actually not difficult to achieve. We need to start by living our lives according to noble values, such as forgiveness. Instil these values in our heart, and that of our family members, and consciously live these values. InshaAllah, we will be closer to the path shown by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and the impact of this will be seen by others in a very positive way.

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