Islam and Confucian ethics 'share similarities'

Mr Jaffar said being kind as well as loyal to the state were values emphasised by both Prophet Muhammad and Confucius.
Mr Jaffar said being kind as well as loyal to the state were values emphasised by both Prophet Muhammad and Confucius.

Doing good deeds and exercising civic-mindedness are some of the similarities between Islam and Confucianism.

Threads of similarities between the two belief systems were highlighted by scholar Jaffar Kassim at a seminar organised by the Nanyang Confucian Association at the Furama City Centre Hotel yesterday .

Mr Jaffar, who spoke in fluent Mandarin, said: "Be kind to each other and be loyal to the state. These were values emphasised by both Prophet Muhammad and Confucius."

President of the Nanyang Confucian Association Kek Boon Leong said the session was organised with the common goal of ensuring stability and cooperation among Singapore's diverse communities. The 102-year-old organisation holds about three such talks every year.

"Different religions and cultures should not attack each other but should work towards a common goal for a better world," said Mr Kek.

Mr Jaffar, who worked with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) for 25 years in various positions, and a graduate in Chinese language and literature from the former Nanyang University, also raised points such as the historical links between the Chinese and Muslims through trade.

Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng, who was guest of honour at the event, addressed the audience of about 300 people as well.

He said while temples, mosques and churches stand side by side in Singapore, peace and harmony should not be taken for granted.

He encouraged the public to visit the inter-faith exhibition at the Harmony Centre, which is located at the An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan, to widen their worldviews.

Mr Baey added that such dialogues are a meaningful way to encourage mutual understanding between faiths.

He said: "We welcome and encourage the efforts of community groups, such as the Nanyang Confucian Association, in building bridges of inter-faith engagement and communication.

"I hope more groups will join this effort, so that Singapore will remain a cohesive and resilient nation."

Melody Zaccheus

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Islam and Confucian ethics 'share similarities''. Print Edition | Subscribe