Rebuttal to FarisOsman Abdat’s Open Letter to LeeKuanYew

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Rebuttal to FarisOsmanAbdat’s Open Letter to LeeKuanYew*

Original “Open Letter to LKY” referenced only.

Faris Osman Abdat’s Open Letter to Lee Kuan Yew was composed by a very clever man skilled in Islamic knowledge and versatile with the English language. It was very convincing and from the replies I have read, accepted by both Muslim and non-Muslim readers. But as the letter was full of dissimulations, I felt that I had to rebut some of those concepts with what was the real commands of Allah, and have had to C & P from the Quran and the Hadiths to show authenticity. The rebuttal should discredit the sincerity and honesty of Faris Osman Abdat.


(This author’s views will be presented in Bold, Italics.)

It would seem that Abdat is criticising LKY for his blunt and critical views of Islam through this “Open Letter”  and attempting to present Islam as a kind benevolent good neighbourly ideology by judicious quotes from Islamic sources, especially from the Qur’an. However, it presents several views that have been abrogated by Muhammad and thus could be misleading when read out of context. I therefore will attempt to balance the statements with other quotations from the Qur’an that should provide a balanced view of Islam.

Abdat stated: “The Quran states –

1. “Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near, the neighbour who is far, the companion by your side…”[ The Quran 4 : 36] ”

Abdat implies that a Muslim is (always) good to his neighbour (regardless of his religion), but it is out of context:
For clarification I quote verses 4:36-37

YUSUFALI: Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-
PICKTHAL: And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful,
SHAKIR: And serve Allah and do not associate any thing with Him and be good to the parents and to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the neighbor of (your) kin and the alien neighbor, and the companion in a journey and the wayfarer and those whom your right hands possess; surely Allah does not love him who is proud, boastful;

YUSUFALI: (Nor) those who are niggardly or enjoin niggardliness on others, or hide the bounties which Allah hath bestowed on them; for We have prepared, for those who resist Faith (Islam), a punishment that steeps them in Contempt;-
PICKTHAL: Who hoard their wealth and enjoin avarice on others, and hide that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty. For disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom;
SHAKIR: Those who are niggardly and bid people to be niggardly and hide what Allah has given them out of His grace; and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement.

4:36-Allah has no partners, no son, no Holy Spirit, just Allah, no other. In other words this clearly differentiates Allah from the Christian Trinity. Allah is the “only god” for Muslims. There is no stipulation (in the verse) that the neighbours who are strangers are non-Muslims but are (without doubt) Muslims. Because by the very next breadth he says:

4:37  “We have prepared, for those who resist (the Islamic) Faith, a punishment that steeps them in contempt.”  

So it is clear that by quoting 4:36 leaving out 4:37 the statement is “OUT OF CONTEXT AND IS MISLEADING.” When the 2 verses are read together, no way will Allah extend kindness to disbelievers/unbelievers. So I raise serious doubts that a Muslim could be kind to a non-believer (non-Muslim) neighbour because Quran 4:37 makes no mistakes about Quran 4:36.

Abdat: According to the celebrated scholar of Islam, Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Qurthubi (1214-1273 AD ) in his exegesis of the Quran, Tafsir Al-Qurthubi, this verse is clear in its instructions to do good to one’s neighbours, to fulfil their rights, to protect their properties and lives, regardless whether that neighbour is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

4:37 Clearly implies that the neighbour must be a Muslim to merit consideration as a good neighbour. Besides Allah has “forbidden” Muslims from befriending infidels:

Qur’an 5:17 “Verily they are disbelievers and infidels who say, ‘The Messiah, son of Mary, is God.'”
Qur’an 5:51 “Believers (Muslims), take not Jews and Christians (non-Muslims) for your friends.. They are but friends and protectors to each other.”
Qur’an 5:72 “They are surely infidels who blaspheme and say: ‘God is Christ, the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ But the Messiah only said: ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.'”

[9.5] So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters (infidels) wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Qur’an 5:17, 5:51, 5:72, clearly spells out the Muslim relationship with non-Muslims and it is clearly forbidden. Thus the claims of a Muslim being a good neighbour to non-Muslims is inaccurate, misleading and dissimulates.

Abdat made the following statements attempting to prove that a Muslim is nothing but a good neighbour hence a good citizen.

“1. “Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near, the neighbour who is far, the companion by your side…”[ The Quran 4 : 36]

According to the celebrated scholar of Islam, Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Qurthubi (1214-1273 AD ) in his exegesis of the Quran, Tafsir Al-Qurthubi, this verse is clear in its instructions to do good to one’s neighbours, to fulfil their rights, to protect their properties and lives, regardless whether that neighbour is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

Among the sayings or Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad with regards to the proper Muslim conduct with his or her neighbours include –

2. “By Allah, he is not a believer ! By Allah, he is not a believer ! By Allah, he is not a believer ! ” It was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, ” One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil.” ( Hadith – narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari Book No.73, Hadith No. 45).

3. “He will not enter paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.”(Hadith – Narrated by Imam Muslim, Agreed Upon).

4. “The best of companions in the sight of Allah is the one who is best to his companions, and the best of neighbours in the sight of Allah is the one who is best to his neighbour.”( Hadith – Narrated by Imam Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad)

5. “Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet.” ( Hadith – Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari Book No. 73, Hadith No 47)

6. ‘A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.'” ( Hadith – Narrated by Imam Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

7. ” The rights of the neighbour is that, when he is sick you visit him; when he dies, you go to his funeral; when he is poor you lend him (money); when he is in need you protect him; when he is happy you congratulate him; when he is struck with a calamity, you condole him; don’t raise your building above his to cut off the wind from him; don’t harm him with the good smell of your food unless you let him have part of it.” ( Hadith – narrated by Imam Tabrani ).

Such are the rights of neighbours in Islam that the Prophet Muhammad said –

8. ” ‘Jibreel [ Gabriel ] kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbours to the extent that I thought that he would order us to make them our heirs.” ( Hadith – Narrated by Imam Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Since Islam explicitly equates the level of faith of a Muslim in Allah to how he or she treats his or her neighbours, failing to be a good neighbour, he or she is exhibiting one of the signs of having no faith in Allah. Such is the beauty of Islam and in the context of our national cohesiveness, it is a truly powerful agent of integration.

Consider this fact.

By demanding that Muslims become good neighbours who in dispensing neighbourly consideration and kindness should totally disregard religious, racial and social differences, Islam ensures that Muslims would be inclusive in their good relationship with all their neighbours. Since positive action results in positive reaction, one act of inclusiveness will likely result in another act of inclusiveness, creating therefore a situation which will definitely lead to cohesiveness.

A neighbour treated with kindness and respect and made to feel safe will under normal circumstances reciprocate in a similar manner. Islam therefore promotes mutual acceptance, mutual kindness, mutual understanding and mutual cooperation regardless of race or religion.

Based on these clear commandments of Islam, why therefore do you claim that Islam unable Muslims to integrate ? And would you like for Muslims to be less strict in our observances of the rights of neighbours ?

B ) Islam and Racial Diversity

Islam preaches that there is no difference between a Malay, a Chinese, an Indian, an Arab, a Portuguese, a Chukchi, a Hottentot, an Aymara, a Dongxiang, a Merina, a Comanche, a Pomak or a Wolof.

In the eyes of Islam, no ethnicity can claim racial superiority over others for Islam says all humanity descends from a single pair of parents. Islam absolutely rejects the notion of the Chosen People but instead Islam promotes universal brotherhood whose criteria for membership is one only and that is being human.

Islam recognises the differences in skin colours and languages only as being among the symbols of Allah’s majesty and existence –

1. ” And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours; verily in that are signs for those who know.” ( The Quran 30:22)

And Islam explains clearly the reason for Allah moulding humanity into different races speaking different languages practising different cultures –

2. ” O humankind ! We have created you male and female, and made you into communities and tribes, so that you may know one another. Surely the noblest amongst you in the sight of Allah is the most godfearing of you. Allah is All-knowing and All-Aware” (The Quran 49:13).

Here Islam teaches that the differences in our races, skin colours, languages and cultures are not meant to justify discrimination, to encourage fighting, to promote segregation or hate because neither genuine honour nor true value is attached to race, language or skin colour. Rather these differences are reasons for us to cherish one another, for learning from each other, for creating harmony between us, for mutual understanding and benefit because everyone is equal. Islam teaches therefore that being racially, culturally and linguistically different are the more reason for all of us to walk side by side, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder.

The Prophet Muhammad said in his last sermon –

3. ” O people ! Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a black person has no superiority over a white, nor a white person has any superiority over a black, except by piety and righteousness. Indeed the best among you is the one with piety and righteousness. ” ( Hadith – Excerpt from the Prophet’s Last Sermon as narrated by Imam Baihaqi).

Indeed Islam rejects solidarity or inclusiveness base on ethnic, racial or tribal identity or interests which in Arabic is called Asabiyya.

4. The Prophet Muhammad said in this regard ” He is not one us who calls for Asabiyya, or who fights for Asabiyya or who dies for Asabiyya.” (Hadith – Narrated in the Sunan of Abu Dawud.)

Once again, in the context of Singapore , Islam is a positive agent which promotes integration because Muslims are taught to embrace racial, linguistic and cultural diversity as part of our faith. Racism, simply put, is incompatible with faith in Islam.

Therefore why do you say that Islam is an agent which prevents Muslims from integrating with the mainstream when the facts show otherwise ? When you said that Muslims should be less strict in our observances of Islam, is rejecting racism one of them ?

In your book, you had claimed that Muslims as a group are less likely to partake of interracial marriages. However the perceivable facts on the ground seem to seriously contradict your claim and I dare say that of all the religious groups in Singapore, it is within the Muslim community that the incidences of interracial marriages is one of the highest, if not the highest.

May I know what data did you use to come to your distinct and separate conclusion ?

C ) Islam and Religious Tolerance

As a Muslim, I unequivocally believe that Islam is the only true religion but however at the same time as a Muslim, I unequivocally believe that non-Muslims have every right to worship as they please.

While Islam preaches that it is the only Truth, Islam also equally preaches the freedom of conscience because Islam sees no value in either blind faith or spiritual hypocrisy. Muslims therefore are principled in how we view Islam but we are also tolerant in how we view other religions. In other words, Muslims compromise without compromising because we are principled but at the same time we are supposed to be tolerant.

In this matter Islam says, among others :

1. ” There is no compulsion in religion. Truth is clear from error ” ( The Quran 2:256)

2. ” If it had been the Will of your Lord, they would all have believed – all who are on earth ! Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe ? (The Quran 10:99)

3. “If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is only to convey (the Message).” ( The Quran 42: 48)

4. ” Clear proofs have indeed come to you; from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for his own good; and whoever is blind [ to the Truth ] it is to his own harm. And I am not a keeper over you.” ( The Quran 6:105 )

By insisting therefore that non-Muslims have the right to believe in what their hearts believe to be true, Islam has laid a solid foundation in the relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim. Indeed, Islam emphasizes that the non-Muslim is not to be injured, harmed, embarrassed or distressed on the account of his faith.

In the Charter of Privileges sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the Christians of Najran, we read –

5. ” This is a message from [Prophet] Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion [in religion] is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their Churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (of Muslims) is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day (end of the world). ”

Not only that, Islam explicitly advocates peaceful dialogues and co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Quran is explicit in how Muslims should behave when calling others to Islam for example by employing tact, logic and politeness ; that Muslims have to respect the religious choices of non-Muslims without being judgemental or hurtful and that Muslims must behave with kindness and fairness towards those non-Muslims who desire peaceful co-existence, where the Quran clearly equates that kindness and fairness with Allah’s love.   “

I requote 
Al-Bukhari Book No.73, Hadith No. 45

2.(Did Muhammad say this?) “By Allah, he is not a believer ! By Allah, he is not a believer ! By Allah, he is not a believer ! ” It (the audience asked) was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah(Muhammad)?” He (Muhammad) said, ” One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil.(i.e., a non-Muslim neighbour.)” ( Hadith – narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari Book No.73, Hadith No. 45).  (In other words, a neighbour does not feel safe with a non-Muslim as a neighbour?)


The whole narrative above applies to a Muslim being a good neighbour in a Muslim neighbourhood. It does not necessarily apply to non-Muslim neighbours as it has no where been specific on this critical point. But the following verses proves beyond doubt that good neighbourliness  applies only to and among Muslims and DOES NOT APPLY IF THE NEIGHBOUR IS NOT A MUSLIM.  The following verses will confirm.

Unbelievers are described by Muhammad (in the Qur’an) as “the vilest of animals” and “losers.” Christians and Jews are hated by Allah to the extent that they are destined for eternal doom as a result of their beliefs. It would make no sense for Muhammad to then recommend them to be taken in as friends by Muslims. In fact, the Qur’an plainly commands believers not to take unbelievers as friends

Qur’an (5:51) – “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

Qur’an (3:28) – “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them…” This last part means that the Muslim is allowed to feign friendship it it is of benefit (to Islam.)  Renowned scholar Ibn Kathir states that “believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly, but NEVER INWARDLY.” (confirming the sheer HYPOCRISY of all Muslims.)

Qur’an (3:118) – ” O you who believe do not take for intimate friends from among oth3r than your own people (Muslims,) they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand.” This verse not only warns Muslims not to take non-Muslims as friends, but it establishes the deep-seated paranoia that the rest of the world is out to get them.

Qur’an (9:23) – ” O ye who believe! (Muslims) Choose not your fathers nor your brethren fro friends if they take pleasure in disbelief (in Allah) rather than faith (in Allah). Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are WRONG-DOERS.” Even family members are not to be taken as friends if they do not accept Islam (let alone neighbours) if they do not accept Islam. (This is the mildest interpretation of this verse from the 9th Sura, which also advocates “slaying the unbeliever wherever ye find them.”) (Quran 9:5)

Qur’an (53:29) – “Therefore shun those who turn away from Our Message (message from Allah) and desire nothing but the life of this world.” How can this clear message from Allah be ignored when Abdat claims that Muslims are good to their non-Muslim neighbours. It simply is totally contradictory. So either Abdat is wrong, or Allah is wrong?

Qur’an (3:85) – ” And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be on of the losers.”

Qur’an (3:10) – “(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire.” Those who do not believe in Allah/Muhammad are but fuel for the fire of Hell (also 66:6, 2:24, 21:98.)

Qur’an (7:44) – “The Companions of the Garden will call out to the Companions of the Fire: “We have indeed found the promises of our Lord to us true: Have you also found Your Lord’s promises true?” They shall say, “Yes”; but a crier shall proclaim between them: The curse of Allah is on the “wrong-doers.” Muslims in Heaven (Paradise) will amuse themselves by looking down on non-Muslims in Hell and mocking them while they are being tortured. (see 2219-22)

Qur’an (1:5-7) – “Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray” This is a prayer that Muslims are supposed to repeat each day. “Those who earn Thine anger” specifically refers to Jews and “those who go astray” refers to Christians (see Bukhari (12:749)).

Muslim (1:417) – Taken to mean that one’s own relatives should not be taken as friends if they are not Muslim.

Abu Dawud (41:4815) – “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.”

Abu Dawud (41:4832) – The Messenger of Allah [said] “Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious.”

Bukhari (59:572) – “O you who believe! Take not my enemies And your enemies as friends offering them (Your) love even though they have disbelieved in that Truth (i.e. Allah, Prophet Muhammad and this Quran) which has come to you.”

Ishaq 262 – “Some Muslims remained friends with the Jews, so Allah sent down a Qur’an forbidding them to take Jews as friends. From their mouths hatred has already shown itself and what they conceal is worse”

Ishaq 252 – The story of a young man who converts to Islam after hearing Muhammad. He then tells his own father that he can no longer have anything to do with him because, “I have become a Muslim and follow the religion of Muhammad.” (To maintain a relationship with his son, the father “converts” as well).

Can anyone have any doubt that good neighbourliness between Muslims and Non-Muslims is impossible unless a Muslim is prepared to disregard the above Quranic verses and Sunnah? And to ignore the Qur’an and the Hadiths means to be an apostate of Islam. [2]

Abdat’s Taqiyya was a Valiant Effort to Dissimulate Islam to the Ignorant

I believe that I have produced sufficient (C & P) above from legitimate and respected Islamic religious sources, to rebut Abdat’s (C & P) Taqiyya’s about his sincerity of the good neighbourliness of Muslims towards non-Muslim neighbours to discredit his presentation. Therefore, I see little point in my pursuing  any further, point by point the rest of his presentations since he has been shown not to be sincere or accurate in his portrayal of the Muslim or of Islam. Abdat has skilfully written a very convincing “open letter to LeeKuanYew” that was only brought to my attention in the last few days and I hope that my rebuttal is sufficiently adequate to discredit this insincere citizen of Singapore. I also hope that someone reading this might be able to send a copy to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Lee Hsien Loong.

Reference: [1] Open Letter to Lee Kuan Yew:
[2] Muslims cannot be good neighbours of non-Muslims:

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