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Fatwa: Contemporary Religious Guidance for Society

Islamic Religious Council of Singapore

Friday Sermon

2 February 2024 / 21 Rejab 1445H

Fatwa: Contemporary Religious Guidance for Society 

My blessed Friday congregants,

Let us continue in our efforts to elevate our taqwa towards Allah (s.w.t.), by obeying all His commands, and by abstaining from all His prohibitions. May we be among those who are blessed with taqwa, and may we be under His protection always. Amin.

My beloved brothers and sisters in Islam,

In the words of Allah (s.w.t.) in surah an-Nahl, verse 43:

Which means: “(O Muhammad s.a.w.) We did not send any Messengers before you, except that they were mere men to whom We sent revelation. Therefore, ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.”

The verse mentioned "people of knowledge". This refers to our esteemed scholars. As such, whenever we are presented with life’s problems, we should consult the right authorities, or the experts in the issue. This maxim applies whether the issue is a medical issue, a matter of religion, and so on. Indeed, if we were to seek advice from those who are not qualified, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Our lives and the lives of those around us may be negatively impacted as a result. 

Brothers and sisters,

The main principles of Islam have been clearly delineated in the Qur'an, as well as through the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and the consensus of the Companions and authoritative scholars of the past. However, given the ever-changing nature of life, there are many current and contemporary issues that require religious guidance. Here, the role of the fatwa comes into play. It sheds light on complex issues that were not mentioned in the vast corpus of knowledge that we inherited from our traditions.

For example, when the Covid-19 epidemic struck the world, it spread far and wide. It affected various parts of our life. It disrupted our norms. Consequently, there emerged many problems and complications for the Muslim community that required religious guidance. Singapore's Fatwa Committee responded by making some difficult, yet necessary and practical decisions to address these problems. The Committee did this by issuing fatwas allowing for the postponement of Hajj, and ruling that zakat assistance can be distributed to those whose incomes were adversely affected by COVID-19, and so on.

As members of society, we need to appreciate and comprehend the rationale behind these fatwas. We should also be open-minded, and show due respect for the fatwas issued. This is because every fatwa issued is based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.). They are guided by legal principles and higher purpose of Shariah. They considered current context and lived realities. This has been explained in last week's sermon. While different views regarding a fatwa are normal and permissible, what is prohibited is demeaning, putting down, or belittling views that differ from our own. Such abhorrent behaviour should be avoided altogether. As Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) reminded us:

لَيْسَ اَلْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ، وَلَا اَللَّعَّانُ، وَلَا اَلْفَاحِشَ، وَلَا اَلْبَذِيءَ

Which means: "The believer is not from the group that likes to humiliate others, not from the group that curses others, not from the group that likes to gossip, and is also not from the group that likes to say vile things." [Hadith narrated by Imam Tirmizi].

My blessed Friday congregants,

Allow me to summarise three important lessons from today's sermon:

First: Fatwas play an important role in guiding the religious life of the community. Every fatwa issued is the result of thorough deliberation and extensive discussions that have the aim of preserving public wellbeing. We should always refer a religious problem to those who are the experts in their respective religious fields, and defer to their opinions.

Second: Differences of opinion regarding a religious issue, and in ancillary or side issues, should not prevent us from seeking to understand, and subsequently having confidence in the issued fatwa.

Finally, fatwas empower a society to navigate modern challenges with confidence, based on sound religious knowledge, and the resilience to overcome challenges. May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us a good understanding of our religious affairs. Amin ya Rabbal 'Alamin.

أَقُوْلُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيْمَ لِي وَلَكُمْ، فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْم




الحَمْدُ للهِ حَمْدًا كَثِيرًا كَمَا أَمَرَ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَن لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ الله، اِتَّقُوا اللهَ تَعَالَى فِيمَا أَمَرَ، وَانتَهُوا عَمَّا نَهَاكُم عَنْهُ وَزَجَرَ. 


أَلَا صَلُّوا وَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ الْمُصْطَفَى، فَقَدْ أَمَرَنَا اللهُ بِذَلِكَ حَيْثُ قَال فِي كِتَابِهِ العَزِيزِ: إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَـا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ. 


وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ المَهْدِيِّينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيِّ، وَعَن بَقِيَّةِ الصَّحَابَةِ وَالقَرَابَةِ وَالتَّابِعِينَ، وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ، وَعَنَّا مَعَهُم وَفِيهِم بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ. 


اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِلمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالمُؤْمِنَاتِ، وَالمُسْلِمِينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتِ، الأَحْيَاءِ مِنهُم وَالأَمْوَاتِ. اللَّهُمَّ ادْفَعْ عَنَّا البَلَاءَ وَالوَبَاءَ وَالزَّلَازِلَ وَالمِحَنَ، مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ، عَن بَلَدِنَا خَاصَّةً، وَسَائِرِ البُلْدَانِ عَامَّةً، يَا رَبَّ العَالَمِينَ. اَللَّهُمَّ انْصُرْ إِخْوَانَنَا اْلمُسْتَضْعَفِيْنَ فِي غَزَّة وَفِي فِلِسْطِينَ وَفِيْ كُلِّ مَكَانٍ عَامَّةً، يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ. اللَّهُمَّ بَدِّلْ خَوْفَهُمْ أَمْنًا، وَحُزْنَهُمْ فَرَحًا، وَهَمَّهُمْ فَرَجًا، يَا رَبَّ العَالَمِينَ. رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنيَا حَسَنَةً، وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً، وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.  


عِبَادَ اللهِ، إِنَّ اللهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي القُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ، فَاذكُرُوا اللهَ العَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ، وَاشْكُرُوهُ عَلَى نِعَمِهِ يَزِدْكُمْ، وَاسْأَلُوهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ يُعْطِكُم، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ، وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ.