All religion preaches tolerance, good relations and good moral values. As such, religion plays an important role in promoting unity in multiracial Malaysia.
In fact, verse 13 of Surah Al-Hujurat in the Quran promotes diversity by stating that the different nations and tribes were created so that they would get to know each other.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Darul Ehsan Institute, Prof Dr Siddiq Fadzil further elaborated on the verse by explaining that the act of befriending those from different backgrounds help promote unity.
According to the Islamic perspective, the diversity that exists is by God's will and it was so that human beings could look beyond differences and learn and benefit from one another as well as respect and work with each other, he said.
When delivering his lecture on religion as a medium of cultivating integrity and national unity at a national seminar recently, Siddiq recommended dialogues to be fully utilised as a platform to foster unity and better understanding within society.
Under Malaysia Baharu (New Malaysia), he said, the people should prove that the differences in beliefs would not cause division but would instead encourage unity and a harmonious existence.
Religion is not a cause of segregation but an advocate for unity. Islamic, Eastern and Western Civilisations have long met up and held dialogues in our country that we can now say with pride that our nation is where inter-civilisational dialogues take place, he said.
He said interfaith dialogues should continue to be taken to the next level where it can be used as a guide to develop the nation while upholding the principles of unity.
The birth of a rich civilisation comes from a multireligious society that is wise and matured enough is to come together to celebrate differences.
A good team is a team comprising members with varying faiths and expertise. There is strength in diversity, he said.
THE CONSTITUTION OF MADINAH
Siddiq said the Constitution of Madinah could be used as a guide to fostering unity in Malaysia, which is home to a people from various ethnic and religious origins. The constitution was based upon a series of agreements drawn during the time of Prophet Muhammad that establishes the ummah as a community united across tribal boundaries, which interestingly included Jewish tribes as well.
It formed the basis of a multireligious Islamic state in Madinah.
In Malaysian, the diversity is unified by a bond formed by the nation's identity such as what is stipulated under the Rukun Negara (national principles), the national language, the democratic system and a constitutional monarchy, among others, he explained.
In line with that, Siddiq called for Muslims in the country to lead the way in the effort to foster unity among the people as it was among their religious responsibilities.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK