Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
11 October 2019 / 12 Safar 1441H
Ethics and Compassion in Relationships
My honourable brothers,
On this blessed Friday, let us elevate our consciousness of Allah. Let us fulfil our obligations towards Him, and abstain from His prohibitions. May Allah s.w.t. continue to shower us with His mercy. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.
My beloved brothers,
Having good ethics is one of the important components of creating a civilization that is pleased by Allah s.w.t. What makes a civilization worthy of Allah’s s.w.t. acceptance?
Indeed it refers to a community that is able to harmoniously co-exist and complement all of Allah’s creations on this earth. This can be achieved by putting into practice the ethics protrayed by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Allah s.w.t. alludes to this in Surah Al-Anbiya’, verse 107:
Meaning: “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
The prosperity of a community is closely tied to the values and morals of its individuals. One of these values include having good thoughts of others. Islam teaches its followers to think well of others in order to maintain good relations and preserve the unity amongst them.
My dear brothers,
Today, the discourse surrounding ethics has become more critical than ever; especially that which concerns our communication and interaction within the cyber or virtual realm. This is especially because current technology allows us to interact with others through our mobile devices without having to rely on computers like before.
Therefore, we must not go astray by misusing these technologies. An example would be the need to be cautious during the times we receive any information or news through social media and text messages pertaining to various issues. This is regardless of whether the information received is related to religion, the halal (permissibility) status of a particular product, or news regarding certain individuals. Even if the news we receive were true, we must not circulate them if it causes a person’s reputation to be tarnished or exposes a fault that was previously unknown to others. If such is the case for spreading truth, spreading a falsehood is an even greater misdeed as it constitutes fitnah(slander). Allah s.w.t. says:
Which means: “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become regretful over what you have done.” (Surah Al-Hujurat, ayat 6).
My respected brothers,
The value of compassion teaches us the true meaning and purpose of life on earth. We are created not to simply fulfil our personal obligations, but to also be a source of hope and mercy to humanity. In other words, we are born to contribute in making a positive impact to the life around us.
So let us not be like those who not only do not make a positive impact, but also cause chaos, disunity, enmity, hostility and conflict.
Imam Al-Bukhari relates to us a hadith in his book, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, where the Prophet s.a.w. says: “Shall I tell you who is the worst of you? Those who go about slandering, causing mischief between friends in order to separate them, and desiring to lead the innocent into wrong action.”
Those who seek to create conflict do not benefit the society in any way. By spreading lies and falsehoods, they sow seeds of disharmony and enmity among members of the community.
This issue has become even more apparent in the context of cyberspace where thoughts, ideas and opinions are permanently recorded. They are easily circulated, but difficult to be removed or withdrawn. If it turns out to be a form of slander, the sin of spreading it shall then be multiplied.
This is why Islam considers spreading of slander and fabricated news to be among the greatest verbal sins. The Prophet s.a.w. once said: “A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe; and a Muhajir (Emigrant) is the one who refrains from what Allah has forbidden.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari]
My dear brothers,
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate the importance of being responsible and tactful users of modern technologies. Just as how Islam teaches us to be morally upright through our physical interactions with others in our daily lives, we must also display the proper ethics and values during our online interactions.
As the ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammads.a.w., do we not wish to be loved by him and be close to him in the hereafter? We must remember this hadith in which the Prophet s.a.w. said:
Meaning: ” The dearest and the closest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who are the best in behaviour.” [Hadith narrated by Imam At-Tirmizi]
Let us apply the lessons acquired from this hadith in our lives, and let us call others – our wives, our children and those around us – to emulate the ethics of the Prophet s.a.w. Let us be the best example to others by showing kindness, love and compassion when interacting with one another.
May each of our steps be filled with Allah’s mercy and compassion. O Allah! Beautify our hearing, our sight and our strength as long as You keep us alive. O Allah! Let no misfortune afflict our faith, and let not our worldly affairs or limited knowledge be our ultimate concerns, and let not those who rule over us be without compassion and kindness. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.