Friday, 25 October 2013
Universal Islamic Brotherhood
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from the transcript of a discourse delivered by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.
One of the reasons why Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was very successful was because he was able to instil in the minds of the people that they were all children of Adam (a.s.); and as a result they were all part of the one big human family. This was confirmed by the Qur’anic verses in which Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Mankind was one single nation ... (Surah al-Baqarah:213)
Before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), the Children of Israel, who had the responsibility of establishing Allah’s (s.w.t.) religion on earth, were disunited. They were in tribes, twelve in all; and they were all distinct and separate. One tribe never really interacted with the other; so much so, that when they wanted water, and Allah (s.w.t.) Told Moses (a.s.) to strike the rock, twelve separate springs came out, one for each tribe. Even in Arabia, where the Prophet (s.a.w.) was born, there were tribalism, and they used to fight one another regularly. There was no concept of one big happy human family.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) demonstrated that all the people can live like one community, thereby avoiding bloodshed. He gave a practical example when the Black Stone had to be put in its place after the Ka’bah was renovated. He put the Stone on a sheet and let the tribal leaders hold on to the sheet and carried to the spot where it had to be placed and he took it and put it in; that action of his prevented quarrelling and anything that would have resulted from the open disagreement. Islam wants that people live like one community, immaterial of their racial, religious or political affiliation. The only way for this to be a reality is if the hearts are filled with love for each other. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… for ye were enemies and He Joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He Saved you from it ... (Surah Ali ‘Imran:103)
Unlike the previous messengers, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) came to the whole of mankind. Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the following verse:
Say: “O men! I am Sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah ...” (Surah al-A’araf:158)
This call of his was so different from the call of the previous messengers; for example; Jesus (a.s.) told the people:
24 And he answered, “My errand is only to the lost sheep that are of the house of Israel.”
Islam came to bind the whole of humanity into one community, all those who believe in Allah (s.w.t.) and the Last Day. Each believer is like a single strand in a rope. Joined together they make a strong rope. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (Stretches Out for you), and be not divided among yourselves ... (Surah Ali ‘Imran:103)
In order to achieve this, Allah (s.w.t.) Gave them the guiding principle, called ma’ruf, permissible, and munkar, prohibited. All believers are Guided by the Qur’anic Guidance and the Traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.). In order to be able to like brothers and sisters in the faith, there are certain important principles that must be practiced by everyone. The first of these is to love for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.). A Muslim has to live a life of love. He has to love Allah (s.w.t.) more than anything else in this world. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah ... (Surah al-Baqarah:165)
The next important thing is to love the Prophet (s.a.w.) more than anything else in this world. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “He is not a true believer who does not love me more than his parents, his children and mankind at large.” After loving Allah (s.w.t.) and His Rasul (s.a.w.), the believer is supposed to love mankind sincerely for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.). In this connection the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to his companions, “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith; and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I direct you to something which if you fulfil you will love one another? Spread peace among yourselves.” This is recorded in Swahih Muslim. The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to demonstrate so much compassion for the people, especially when they went the wrong way that Allah (s.w.t.) had to Console him in the following verse:
Thou wouldst only perchance, fret thyself to death, following after them, in grief, if they believe not in this Message. (Surah al-Kahf:6)
So the Prophet (s.a.w.) demonstrated genuine, sincere love for the people; even his enemies, the wife of Abu Lahab and Abu Lahab himself, and as a result they were attracted to him. One of the important ways of demonstrating true love for the Islamic brotherhood, and as a matter of fact, for society at large, is to love for your brother what you would like for yourselves. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “Each of you cannot be a true believer until he loves for his brother what he would like for himself.” Muslims are very considerate to their believing brothers and sisters, and some of them even go out of their way to help those who might be in difficulties. About such people Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… but give them preference over themselves even though poverty was their (own lot) ... (Surah al-Hashr:9)
So Islam brought the principles of love and consideration for others; this has nothing to do with race, religion or nationality. And when there are differences and the believer becomes angered, he cannot hate the other person; as he is supposed to: Hate the evil but not the evil doer. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “I would like to meet my brother with a clean heart.” Muslim live by the principle of helping one another in times of difficulties; in this connection the Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “Whoever relieves a brother from a distress; Allah will Relieve him from a distress on the Day of Judgement; whoever brings ease to a believer who is in difficulty; Allah will Bring Ease to him in both this life and in the next; whoever conceals the short comings of a Muslim; Allah will Conceal his short comings in this world and in the next. Allah will always Help a servant as long as that servant helps his brother.” The Holy Qur’an establishes an important principle for strengthening the bond that keeps all the believers, the world over as one family; that principle is:
… Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour ... (Surah al-Ma’idah:2)
So anywhere in the world the Muslims may find themselves in difficulties, the other Muslims brothers and sisters will be available to assist them. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger ... (Surah at-Tawbah:71)
Because the believer is concerned about the welfare of his believing brother and sister, he will not try to hurt or harm any of them in any way at all. Allah (s.w.t.) Says that they practice compassion among themselves. As an extension of their kindness and trust to each other, they try their best not degrade or to ill-speak one another. This is because they are guided by the Qur'anic injunctions in which Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O ye who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger ... (Surah al-Hujraat:1)
This means that a person should not put himself before Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.). The companions understood this very well.
O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. (Surah al-Hujraat:2)
All Muslims must show respect to the Prophet (s.a.w.).
O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done. (Surah al-Hujraat:6)
A Muslim has be aware that there can be hypocrites in the society bent on making mischief; so that when they should get any news they must firstly verify it before making comments about what they hear.
… but Allah has Endeared the faith to you, and has Made it beautiful in your hearts and He has Made hateful to you unbelief, wickedness and rebellion … (Surah al-Hujraat:7)
One is supposed to detest what is Prohibited.
If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them ... (Surah al-Hujraat:9)
We do not promote disunity.
The believers are but a single brotherhood ... (Surah al-Hujraat:10)
We must come together as friends.
O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong. (Surah al-Hujraat:11)
We do not think ourselves as superior to others. And we do not try to destroy others.
O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it ... (Surah al-Hujraat:12)
We understand that we are a part of the human family.
O mankind! We Created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and Made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most Honoured of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has Full Knowledge and is Well Acquainted (with all things). (Surah al-Hujraat:13)
The Islamic institutions are designed to display complete equality and the feeling of brotherhood. There are no preferences among the people, the most Honourable in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.) is the most righteous. Also in worship, all the Muslims stand together, removing the barriers of caste and class thereby promoting the feeling of brotherhood amongst the believers. Not only is that feeling confined to any particular locality, but during the hajj, Muslims meet with brothers and sisters from all over the world, and many of them return to their homes with fond memories of their friends they made during the hajj with brothers and sisters they met for the first time from distant lands. The laws and principles are applicable to all and justice and equity are the hallmarks of this faith. In this way, Allah (s.w.t.) has Given man the system whereby he can feel that he is an important unit in the larger brotherhood of man; if he should practice what Islam gave to us all. Allah (s.w.t.) Reminds us of this in the following verse:
And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (Stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's Favour on you; for ye were enemies and He Joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He Saved you from it. Thus doth Allah Make His Signs Clear to you: that ye may be Guided. Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity. Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear signs; for them is a dreadful penalty. ― (Surah Ali ‘Imran:103-105)
Islam is a beautiful way, and the Muslim brotherhood is one brotherhood, enjoining righteousness and staying away from prohibited things.