Forging the spirit of “brotherhood of mankind” for Keluarga Malaysia
In today’s globalised world, most societies are characterised by plurality and diversity. Cultural, religious and also ethnic diversities necessitate us to recognise the differences within these various groups followed by acceptance of these differences. The noble goal of this endeavour is for us to learn from one another and appreciate the sensitivities that exist within these various social groups. In dealing with these forms of diversities, there will be differences in views and practices, but most importantly is how to manage and tread the differences carefully. In the worldview of Islam, as the relationship among Muslims are formed on the basis of tawhid (the Oneness of Allah the Almighty as the Only God) while the bond between mankind can be forged through the “biological brotherhood” of the human race.
Through this understanding, all mankind are biologically related as we originate from one living being, that is, Prophet Adam (peace be on him). This is one of the signs of God’s Greatness in creation. From one person (Adam), we have multiplied and each of us is inherent with so many abilities and experiences. Diversity and plurality of cultures, ethnicities and religions are part of God’s creation of the universe and of mankind. Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things. (Al-Hujurat :13)
Therefore, we should actually look at this as an integral element of unity, as all of us, regardless of our nations, cultures and races by origin, are considered brothers and sisters. In the context of promoting positive multicultural relations, the approach of ukhuwah insaniyyah (brotherhood of mankind) provides a suitable framework for engagement and fostering unity. Based on the premise that it is important to preserve peace and unity in the society, the sense of belonging through the feeling of brotherhood and togetherness within the community would empower better understanding of the differences and promote harmonious multicultural relations. Differences that exist among religions and cultures are to be understood and accepted for the fact that these elements of diversity are part of God’s creation of mankind. Values like respect, tolerance and justice are to be adopted in engaging with one another with the aim to create the sense of kinship needed to ensure sustainable peace and harmony.
In addition, we need to realise that the diversity of our world’s many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities must never be regarded as a pretext for conflict. It is actually a treasure that enriches us all as human beings. Peace can never be established without some form of understanding and acceptance. As a peaceful religion, Islam encourages mutual understanding, tolerance and also respect towards people of other religions and cultures. In Islam, the concept of tasamuh which promotes the values of tolerance, love and respect is the needed approach towards enduring peace for Keluarga Malaysia.
It is also important for all of us to understand that establishing peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society needs collaborative and sincere efforts among its people. Each of us, who are actually components of Keluarga Malaysia, has a role to play to ensure the agenda meet the intended objectives. Thus, values that promote positive relations and bond among humankind must be well-understood and upheld by all. Values such as acceptance and respect which are also emphasised in all religions and cultures, should become important principles in realising the goals of peaceful co-existence and efforts in peace-building. We must also be reminded that threats to peace in societies sometimes is often caused by unfamiliarity towards people or groups who are different from us. Hatred and prejudice that we see developing around us today are usually the results of our own ignorance and misapprehension towards others. Undeniably, it is also an effect of irresponsible acts by certain groups and individuals who flame the ill feelings of suspicious and enmity in the society and leverage upon the divides that exist.
As for Keluarga Malaysia, we should uphold our identity as a multicultural nation that remains united in diversity. No matter what challenges that lie ahead, the agenda of Keluarga Malaysia must be one that is future-proof so that it will remain relevant and long-lasting. Through the spirit of brotherhood and togetherness, the country will be able to become an exemplar of a nation that remains united amidst all differences and diversities that exist within it. Ensuing this, Keluarga Malaysia will be able to move forward together for a better future.