The Independent

Is Malaysia or Singapore more Islamic?

An outdated study, carried out in 2010, is making the rounds of WhatsApp groups in Singapore and Malaysia.

The WhatsApp message headline reads: Singapore is placed 7th most Islamic city in the world.

The study is an indexation of how the countries around the world have adapted to Islamic principles and it is does not place any Muslim majority countries in the top 1o.

It used politics, corruption, cleanliness, the job security and other socially important elements to make a society peaceful and economically powerful as its benchmarks.

The study was conducted by a Professor at the Washington University in the USA, Hossein Askari, who is himself of Iranian origin.

The WhatsApp message, in Malay, cautiously says perhaps many people will not agree with the study conducted by the professor, who based his study – conducted with another author of the Islamicity Index Scheherazade S. Rehman – using the teachings of the Holy Quran (Islamic holy book) and their impact into people’s lives.

The Muslim holy book was the base of the study, and the professor wanted to find out which countries on earth were better placed as ‘Islamic’, using the benchmarks he generated from his research.

Here are the reasons why Singapore was placed 7th:

The study, available on the Internet, places Singapore 7th in Islamicity index, while Malaysia a country that claims to be ‘Islamic’ is given the 33rd rank.

Why did Singapore get the 7th ranking? Its hygiene, anti-corruption drive, the people’s welfare taken care of in Singapore was said to be more concrete than in Malaysia for example, let alone Saudi Arabia, which was not listed in the top 50!

Ireland surprisingly won the first place, due to its low crime rate, safety, welfare and good sanitation, which was said to be far better than Muslim nations.

The question of abuse of power and using Islam as an instrument of political domination was also a benchmark in the study, and Askari had this to say: “There are people who use religion as an instrument of power. They do not care about Muslims. They do not apply the values of the Qur’an into everyday life and do not encourage people to learn the Quran”.

In the Quran there are verses that indicates economic prosperity is good for the society and the country.

But the report by Professor Hossein Askari found prosperity is rarely applied in the economy of Islamic countries.