Singapore is one of the Malaya islands located south of Malaysia. It consists of about forty adjacent islands. The population of Muslims there is 14% to 15% of the total population. Singapore is a great seaport and airport. The port of Singapore is said to be the fourth among the world’s major seaports. The capital city of Singapore is an open city with great and flourishing trade.
The population of Singapore is a mixture of different ethnic groups: 75% Chinese, 14% Malays, and 9% Indians, Pakistanis, and Indonesians.
Islam was introduced into Singapore at the same time it reached the East Indies. Islam spread through trade after its spread in Malacca. As we have previously highlighted, Muslim traders were distinguished by their refined conduct and morals. They were known for their truthfulness, honesty, and forgiveness. This was the best means to invite people to embrace Islam and to spread Islam in any community.
The past Muslim generations in Singapore had great chances of success in trade, and some of them earned great fortunes. This is evident in the fact that there are many important streets in Singapore that are named after Arab-Islamic figures.
There is also an important commercial street in Singapore that is called “Arab Street”. The Malays highly revered Arab Muslims. This respect was reflected in considering them a higher social class and they used to address them respectfully. Another manifestation of honoring and welcoming Arab Muslims was accepting them as husbands for their daughters. Arab Muslims married from the noblest high-class families.
The history of Singapore is considered part of the history of the Malay Peninsula (Malaysia). However, after World War II, Singapore became a British protectorate that was separate from the rest of the Malay states. When the Federation of Malaya was established in 1383 AH /1963 AD, Singapore was one of its members, but left the Federation after two years.
A bloody conflict took place in Singapore before the separation between the Muslim Malays and the Chinese residents of Singapore. Consequently, an agreement was reached that Singapore would leave the Federation. One of the consequences of this separation was that Muslims in Singapore became a minority compared to the Chinese people in a non-Muslim country.
Afterwards, the Muslims were deprived of the social advantages and prestige they used to enjoy in Singapore. The reverential feelings towards Muslims turned into racist feelings. Hence, we see many Arab Muslims trying to integrate into the society of Singapore and assume the Malay character entirely so as not to be perceived as outsiders.
As for the Da‘wah activities in Singapore, because of the intense Christian missionary activities there, Muslims strove to create a harmonized balance in their Da‘wah activities so as to confront the efforts of the Christian proselytizing missionaries. They founded the Islamic Charitable Society [Muslim Missionary Society in Singapore]. They also founded the Dar Al-Arqam Society in order to train the callers to Allaah in the arts of preaching and inviting people to Islam. The Islamic Charitable Society is now a great institution that captures the attention of visitors to Malaya and Singapore.
Originally posted: Story of Islam in Singapore