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The Importance of Community in Islam – Sh. Khalid Yasin

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The Importance of Community in Islam

The idea of Jama’ah in Islam is unique. Islam does not separate the religious aspect of the society from the social and the political aspect. On the contrary, in Islam, all aspects of the society are bound by the discipline, or the dynamic of Shareeah. Sharee’ah is the law, it is the source of empowerment, it is the source of legislation, it is the driving force of the community. Thus, the community is driven (guided) by the Sharee’ah. Every part of it is governed and dependent upon the Sharee’ah. Therefore, the religion is law, and the law is religion.

Sura 3 – Aal-E-Imran [The Family of Imran] Verse 102-105:
102. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ
103. وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلا تَفَرَّقُوا وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَى شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
104. وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
105. وَلا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَأُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
Sura 3 – Aal-E-Imran [The Family of Imran] Verse 102-105:
102. O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.
103. 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.
104. 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.
105. Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty,-

The Jama’ah in Islam is destined to become government. The early Islamic community was not powered simply by empty rituals and words to be recited. It was powered and governed by discipline and order. It had a social and political structure. It had financial and economical accountability. It had a military response and a source of justice.

Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith #28
It was narrated on the authority of Abu Najih al-Irbad bin Sariyah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:
The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, delivered an admonition that made our hearts fearful and our eyes tearful. We said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is as if this were a farewell sermon, so advise us.” He said, “I enjoin you to have Taqwa of Allah and that you listen and obey, even if a slave is made a ruler over you. He among you who lives long enough will see many differences. So for you is to observe my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-principled and rightly-guided successors, holding on to them with your molar teeth. Beware of newly-introduced matters, for every innovation (bid’ah) is an error.” 

This is what Jama’ah meant in that early community, and this is what Jama’ah means today. Unfortunately, Muslims today are following or practicing a mode of religion as have been dictated to them by historical and cultural conditioning. They are clustered into ethnic groups and isolated geographic communities. They wear Islam only as an external ritual.

Sura 61 – As-Saff [The Ranks, Battle Array] Verse 1-4:
1. سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
2. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ
3. كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ
4. إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُمْ بُنْيَانٌ مَرْصُوصٌ
Sura 61 – As-Saff [The Ranks, Battle Array] Verse 1-4:
1. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, let it declare the Praises and Glory of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
2. O ye who believe! Why say ye that which ye do not?
3. Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that ye say that which ye do not.
4. Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.

In the Muslim countries, nationalism and secularism are the driving forces of their sovereignty. The Sharee’ah has no practical constitutional significance. In these modern Muslim states, the Islamic concept of Jama’ah is seen as a threat and subjected to brutal suppression.

The Muslims living as minorities in the Western countries are suffering from a very complicated identity crisis. Their organizations are ethnic and culturally driven, with the trappings of Islamic rituals, completely divorced of the discipline of Jama’at.

They have religious leaders and speakers, who have no judicial or political authority over their constituents. These leaders are responded to in the Masjids or at certain events that are “religiously” oriented. However, those leaders exercise little or no influence over the social, political, economic or judicial lives of their congregations.

Yes, we understand that we are living in the Western Civilization, and we need to assimilate and integrate to a certain extent in order to comply and involve ourselves with local citizenship and to fulfil our social responsibility.

However, this should not, and in essence does not, remove or prevent us from distinguishing ourselves as a comprehensive, self contained community. This is what Jama’ah means: A complete, self-contained community, under leadership, discipline and regulated by the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith #35
Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:
“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.”

Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith #36
It was related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:
“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.” 

Your Brother in Islam, 
Abu Muhammad, Shaykh Khalid Yasin
Islamic Mentor


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