Someone shared this on Facebook:
I spent 10 years in a local madrasah system where I studied Arabic as a language and learnt Islamic religious subjects also in Arabic. Following that, I went on to do a part-time diploma in Qur’an and Sunnah (DPQS) at a local private institution.
I read with shock and distress the accusations against the imam and I also watched the video that was put up as evidence. In my opinion, nowhere in the video did the imam curse at Jews or Christians (or anyone else for that matter) and at no point did he say anything offensive to incite or encourage violence against Jews or Christians. In my opinion, the accusation being made against the imam is wrong because the accuser has not captured the true meaning and usage of the key action word used in the supplication. The key action word (nasara) used in Arabic actually means ‘to help’. Some (though not so common) may translate it as ‘to grant victory’. If we look at most of the different places in which the word or a derivative of it appears in the Qur’an, it is usually translated as ‘to help’. But there is a specific nuance to it. It is to help/grant victory in a situation where the person asking for that help is in dire need of it due to being oppressed or harmed. So in this instance, the imam was asking Allah for help ONLY from those Christians or Jews who were oppressing or harming Muslims, and not ALL Christians and Jews. What the accuser did not highlight, was that the imam also asked Allah for help from bad Muslims too (those who declare that they believe in Allah but in their hearts they do not believe and they do things to harm Muslims).
So, at no point did the imam curse Christians or Jews at all. In my opinion, there was nothing offensive. The imam was just asking Allah for help from ANY bad people who are harming any Muslims, regardless of the religion of those bad people.
Sir, this accusation was particularly shocking to me because this supplication (or those similar to it) has been commonly recited in the different mosques here for many many years and it has never made us think that it demands us to be violent towards people of other religions. We have never been taught by our religious teachers that it should mean that Muslims need to seek victory (implying use of violence) over Jews, Christians or any other groups of people. It has always been taught to us in the manner I have explained above. Also, the idea of help or victory, does not necessarily and immediately imply violence (the accuser unfairly linked the word victory to war and crusades in his original facebook post, however, as Muslims, we believe that Allah can grant victory in many ways and it can be as simple as giving a person a better opportunity at a different area and removing him from the situation or position in which he was being oppressed or harmed).
Having said all of this, I fully agree that encouraging violence against other religions is something that should not be tolerated or condoned at all in Singapore. We have a rare, precious, peaceful environment here where people of all races and religions have been living harmoniously, and as a Singaporean, it is something I really appreciate and value. If the imam was truly trying to encourage violence against Jews and Christians, then I hope appropriate action will be taken against him. However, I hope that in the future, if there were to be such cases, proper measures or steps could be put in place to prevent the accuser from spreading his unverified accusations on social media causing unwarranted fear or panic from people especially because this accusation is a sensitive issue in multi-religious Singapore.”
<by Dinah Aziz* to Minister K Shanmugam taken from his FB page>
Edit: *She’s a daughter of a good friend and is working her way to be a hafiz of the Quran. She has completed her hafazan but has yet to be tested in one sitting and certified as a Hafiz. But to me, certified or not, she’s already a hafiz. She has not posted this on her own FB page but I’m sharing what she’s posted because it’s useful for everyone to know the details of the video.