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Society and Family

     

Islam builds the Muslim Community
Mohamed Helal 218

Islam builds the Muslim Community

How does Islam build the Muslim Community?[1]
 

     Today, people would show loyalty to their first home and nation. However, what is "home"? It is a piece of land with which we are connected by rights and memories! Who is the real owner of this land?

“Say, ‘To whom does the earth and whoever is in it belong, in case you know.’” (Qur’ān, 23:84)

     Who have created the living people, enabled them in lands, and given them maintenance?

“Verily, to Allah does belong whoever is in the heavens and the earth.” (Qur’ān, 10:66)

     Surely, the human beings should have strong relationships with their Lord, the Creator and Owner of the universe. When building the Muslim community, Islam makes deep faith the first pillar while loyalty and obedience to Allah is the main mission for sound upright humans. There are great Allah-given passions which drive Muslims to obedience and guide them to their goal. These are renewable feelings experienced, for instance, every time one hears the call to the five daily prayers and every time one's faith prevents him from unconscious desires. The same is true when one's faith drives one to give money generously in charity, help the weak, or denounce evil acts.

     Divinely-guided life is far better and more precious than citizenship advanced by humans. A Muslim should be the first one to defend home and family, and stand up for noble human rights. Additionally, a Muslim does not accept humiliation or aggression. It is natural that this faith should be the moving spirit amongst Muslims and the driving power to all. After establishing the foundations of this certainty, Islam imposes the principle of brotherhood:

“Surely, the believers are real brothers.” (Qur’ān, 49:10)

     Brotherhood is not a hollow concept; it is an ongoing religious relationship, bearing fruits more than that of democracy and socialism in both political and economic areas. Besides, it is an individual behavior and a social system. Since its early foundation, the Muslim state has relied on this brotherhood at times of war and peace, residence and migration, sharing gains and losses and bearing duties. It resulted in two principles which illustrate greatness and stability, namely mutual support and love.

The basis of such mutual support among the Muslims is that they should help each other and not leave one to be humiliated or to run into difficulty. Instead, a Muslim should defend the other Muslim in such cases. Usually, the bravest persons cannot do without a material aid in adversity. One may get angry when he is humiliated, and may get ready to fight against bandits who may stand in his way, but this will mostly be with the help of a weapon! Similarly, the believer helping another in need is like a useful weapon for him. Thus, a real Muslim exists among the Muslim community with shared strength, not by his individual strength alone. This collective feeling is one of the distinctive features of the Muslim community.

     The Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), says, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he may not oppress him or hand him over (to the Satan or to his evil-inclined ego).” Still another narration states, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim: he does not oppress him, fail him, lie to him, or hold him in contempt. A believer is the mirror of his fellow believer.” He also says, “Whoever protects his fellow believer’s honor, Allah protects his face from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

     However, this obligatory support has different aspects which require foresight and reflection. It is not a form of favoritism or blind partisanship but the main goal here is the achievement of t justice and right and the prevention of injustice and falsehood. ‘Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) has narrated that the Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) says, “Help your fellow believer, whether he is an oppressor or oppressed.” A man enquired, “O Messenger of Allah! I help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?” He said, “By keeping him away from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.” Supported by internal tyranny, colonialism fights hard to wipe out the principle of mutual support. One may say that colonialism has exploited and employed the principle of individualism to spread bloodshed and killing, humiliation and destruction. Therefore, under their evil influence, some Muslim peoples lost the values of courage, sympathy, solidarity, and mutual support! For Muslims to live, the principle of mutual support must be revived among them all.

     The second principle affecting brotherhood among Muslims depends mainly on love for the sake of Allah and making belonging to Him a noble emotion stronger than any friendship or close relationship. The Holy Ḥadīth states that “on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will ask: Where are those who love one another through My glory? Today I shall shield them in My shade on a day when there is no shade but Mine.”

     In fact, love for the sake of Allah alleviates life’s difficulties and the troubles of work. Accordingly, whenever a person feels strange among some people, this blessed emotion gives them a convivial atmosphere and strength to continue to work for the sake of Allah and to strive in His path. This fact is illustrated greatly in the Holy Ḥadīth stating that “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says, 'My love is obliged for those who love each other for Me, those who communicate with each other for Me, hose who visit each other for Me, and those who give to each other generously for Me.” This last part of the Holy Ḥadīth refers to those who spend their money generously in response to this emotion when spending is obligatory.

     The believer's love for other believing brothers is not a voluntary act to be shown upon desire; it is rather the effect of mature certainty (faith). A Muslim should not be insensitive or indifferent to the needs of his other fellow believers. This negative personal isolation is extremely dangerous to the Muslim community and leads to its destruction. The true believer loves others as much as he loves himself. The Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) says, “(I swear) By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You shall not enter Paradise until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something which helps you love each other? Promote greeting of peace amongst you.”

     Islam's greeting of peace is a key to acquaintance or a starting point to openness away from isolation, and care for the others. The Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) says, “When one of you has love for his fellow believer, he should inform him about it” and “When a man becomes close in spiritual connection with another man, then let them get acquainted by knowing each other’s names and families, for indeed this shall nurture their affection.”

     In every human society there are rich and poor people; even in the communist societies there are those forced to share food and others who extravagantly enjoy food on their own. The relationship between these and those is worthy of reflection. Is this disparity a source of hatred? In response, those who believe only in this life or work for it will undoubtedly have bad impact. However, for those preoccupied with the Hereafter, it does not matter too much as long as everyone can secure the necessities. That is why we find that competition takes different aspects. A clear example is the case of the poor who complained to the Prophet of Allah that poor people fall behind the rich in respect with money-related good deeds! They and the rich are equal in prayers and fasting, having the same reward but the rich can spend their money in setting the slaves free, giving in charity and providing for Jihād, unlike them because of their poverty.

Thus, some Companions took great interest in competing in good deeds, the case which pleases Allah and reaps them benefits in the Hereafter, without being worried about poverty. This is one of the great distinctive features of the society obeying Allah.

     It is reported in the Sunnah that “The poor amongst the emigrants came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and said, ‘The possessors of great wealth have obtained the highest ranks and the lasting bliss’. He said, ‘How is that?’ They said, ‘They pray as we do, and they observe fasting as we do, but they give charity when we cannot; and they can even set slaves free when we cannot’. Upon this the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Shall I not teach you something by which you will catch up with those who have preceded you, and get ahead of those who come after you, only those who do as you do being more excellent than you?’ They said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah’. He (the Holy Prophet) said, ‘Extol Allah, declare His Greatness, and Praise Him thirty-three times after every prayer’. Abu Saleh said that the poor amongst the emigrants returned to the Messenger of Allah (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘Our brethren, the possessors of property have heard what we have done and they started to do the same’. So the Messenger of Allah said, ‘This is Allah's Grace which He gives to whom He wishes.’”

     Thus, the believers aim to seek Allah's Pleasure and win His Paradise. This divine guidance has preserved the Muslim people in two important fields. It first manifests itself in learning, teaching, and maintaining religious knowledge for the sake of Allah. Again, it is proved in their dedicated fight against the enemies of Islam to maintain the Muslim state, despite the raids of crusaders and pagans. Success in these two fields has preserved the fundamentals and characteristics of Islam and overcome many shortcomings that arose because of the corruption and evil desires of some rulers. This well establishment of the Islamic foundation along history has been greatly illustrated because Islam considers building the world an act of worship; wealth is only a means towards a noble end. The Companions would receive the knowledge one group at a time from the Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), thus dividing their days and making reconciliation between work and learning. This resulted in preserving the revelation, maintaining faith brotherhood, and securing great benefits. Actually, the civil affairs have been in harmony with religion thanks to such noble acts.


[1] Muḩammad El-Ghazāli, “A Hundred Questions on Islam”, Al-Azhar Center for Translation (ACT), 2017, p. 96.

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