Last night Mrs Mudpie and I went to Masjid al Abdul Razak for its closing talk.
The mosque is now closed for 9 months for renovation.
The ustaz spoke about why we should be grateful for the mosques that we have in Singapore, how in God's wisdom and grace, our forefathers bequeathed numerous plots of property to build mosques and madrasahs. It is the wisdom of God because in today's context of land ownership in Singapore where the majority of Singaporeans do not own private property that is capable of being bequeathed, we inherit from our forefathers such property already.
He spoke about the spiritual significance of waqaf (bequests). Our Master the Prophet, God bless Him and grant Him peace, had taught that when a son of Adam dies, all his actions cease, and he does not earn any more sin or merit until the day he is raised in Judgment, except for three things - perpetuated goodness (amal jariah), knowledge that is useful and the prayers by a good child. The easiest is the first, and the most difficult is the last.
Ustaz spoke that we should not be influenced by those who gripe at having to contribute to the mosque building fund, they are instigated by shaitan, he says. The reality is that we must not see charity as something that makes us poorer. We are promised that zakat, and therefore charity, will not make one poor. And even if we do part with money, we must think of it not as a total write off, but as an investment in the future (or as Mrs MudPie would call it, the "real" future) which is the Hereafter.
In this regard, ustaz spoke about how there is no monasticism in Islam, that our Master, God bless Him and grant Him peace, had said so. We should work and earn money and acquire property, but that is not the end objective. Money and worldly success is a means or instrument to success in the Hereafter. We should look to ways to make more money so that we are able to give more in charity or bequests for the benefit of others. Ustaz mentioned that our Master had said that poverty is the root cause of disbelief, and how we can see this is true in some countries where other religions entice Muslims away from faith succeed because their victims are so mired in poverty. I have myself seen cases where Muslims have declared that they could go to a church and get money whereas MUIS and mosques do not, so they will go to the church. May God forgive them, for they do not realise what they do. (My personal position when I encountered such persons was to feel sorry for the church that they will be going to, because that church will be straddled with such an unreasonable and mercenary person, who would not be a true believer of Jesus anyway, but of "Jesus dollars").
Ustaz said that the government has just announced a few schemes where we set aside some of our CPF money and it comes back to us when we are old and jobless, this is the same, except it comes to us in the Hereafter. Ustaz also said that because of the nature of land ownership in Singapore, we are blessed to have an agency like MUIS to manage our bequests. He says not to listen to people who criticise, because we just need to look at other Muslim countries where there are many bequests made by good people which are neglected after their deaths. He says this is very sad, because the intention of the bequestor to perform amal that continues after his/her death is neglected by the community. Praise God, that in Singapore, because land is so scarce and precious, great care and effort is taken by MUIS to maximise every square inch of land that is bequeathed.
A more interesting note made by Ustaz is that although the vast majority of people in Singapore cannot own land that they are able to bequeath, the wisdom and grace of God (Glorious and Exalted is He) has given most Singaporean Muslims the opportunity to bequeath by way of the Mosque Building Fund contributions. Through this we all are able to perform amal jariah.
After the talk, I was surprised (pleasantly, of course) that there was briyani- and Alaudin's briyani at that. May God bless the people who paid for it.
By the way, the mosque still needs $700,000 to complete its renovation. Please pass the word around.