Friday Sermon: Guidance from the Qurโ€™an on how to unite a community

First, mankind are expected to act like the rest of creation in cohesion and greater achievement and second, it is only man in his ego and desire, from amongst creation, that breaks this trend of unity.

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First, mankind are expected to act like the rest of creation in cohesion and greater achievement and second, it is only man in his ego and desire, from amongst creation, that breaks this trend of unity.

In Part One we looked at how the Qurโ€™an gave guidance to the Ansar and Muhajiroon on staying united and not permitting disunity to enter into the community. Unity is an essential part to the community, family, friends and business circles, and so we often need guidance on re-establishing unity in a broken circle.

Surah al-Hashr (Chapter 59 of the Qurโ€™an) verse 9 provided three principles: 1) Genuine love those who may be considered โ€˜otherโ€™ than you 2) Do not covet what the others are given, and 3) Give preference to them over your own selves.

Part 2 addresses the attitudes toward being part of the system of unity and attitudes to fellow believers that you may profoundly disagree with – even be fighting with. The purpose of this is to mould the mindset of a person so their engagement with an antagonist is in keeping with the Islamic sociological ethos.

The central verse we will be looking at in the next verse in Surah al-Hashr (verse 10): โ€œAnd those [the Muhajireen] who came after them [the Ansar] say, ‘Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful'”.

Unity in the Islamic social order means completion of one another

In his commentaries, leading scholar Ayatollah Syed Taqi al-Modarresi explains the difference between an Islamic worldview and social order and others, such as a Western understanding.

In the post-enlightenment and capitalist era, the individual is given priority over everything: God, religion, group rights, even the environment. A person is โ€˜freeโ€™ to live, dress, speak and act as they please; this has given rise to the idea that an individual or corporate profit is even priority over the environment or national resource.

From an Islamic perspective, everything in creation works with everything else in partnership for the purpose of its evolution and perfection. Surah an-Naba (Chapter 78:8-11) says: โ€œAnd We created you in pairs; And made your sleep [a means for] rest; And made the night as clothing; And made the day for livelihood.โ€ Everything partners with another to achieve more than its own creation as a singular entity.

Ayatollah al-Modarresi explains that if you read the verses of the Qurโ€™an carefully, you will see that Allah (swt) calls people towards working with each other in so many places and in so many ways, that the human community is expected to work complimentary to each other, despite its diversity and individuality, as every other part of creation, for its greater purpose and achievement. Observe these series of verses that he mentions:

ู‚ูู„ู’ ูŠูŽุง ุฃูŽู‡ู’ู„ูŽ ุงู„ู’ูƒูุชูŽุงุจู ุชูŽุนูŽุงู„ูŽูˆู’ุงู’ ุฅูู„ูŽู‰ ูƒูŽู„ูŽู…ูŽุฉู ุณูŽูˆูŽุงุก ุจูŽูŠู’ู†ูŽู†ูŽุง ูˆูŽุจูŽูŠู’ู†ูŽูƒูู…ู’
(3:64) Say: “O followers of earlier revelation! Come to a joint word between us and you.โ€

ูˆูŽุชูŽุนูŽุงูˆูŽู†ููˆุงู’ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุจุฑู‘ู ูˆูŽุงู„ุชู‘ูŽู‚ู’ูˆูŽู‰ ูˆูŽู„ุงูŽ ุชูŽุนูŽุงูˆูŽู†ููˆุงู’ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ุฅูุซู’ู…ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ุนูุฏู’ูˆูŽุงู†ู
(5:2) โ€œHelp one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity.โ€

ูˆูŽุชูŽูˆูŽุงุตูŽูˆู’ุง ุจูุงู„ู’ุญูŽู‚ู‘ู ูˆูŽุชูŽูˆูŽุงุตูŽูˆู’ุง ุจูุงู„ุตู‘ูŽุจู’ุฑู
(103:3) โ€œEnjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity.โ€

ููŽุงุณู’ุชูŽุจูู‚ููˆุงู’ ุงู„ู’ุฎูŽูŠู’ุฑูŽุงุชู
(2:148) โ€œVie, therefore, with one another in doing good works.โ€

ูˆูŽุดูŽุงูˆูุฑู’ู‡ูู…ู’ ูููŠ ุงู„ุฃูŽู…ู’ุฑู
(3:159) โ€œAnd take counsel with them in all matters of concern.โ€

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Such a plethora of verses tell us two primary things: First, that mankind are expected to act like the rest of creation in cohesion and greater achievement and second, it is only man in his ego and desire, from amongst creation, that breaks this trend of unity.

A person, truly submitted to the desire of Allah (swt), would not want to shame himself by being a means of disunity, standing out before creation in such indifference to the order of creation.

The attitude of the believers toward one another

Returning to Surah al-Hashr, Allah (swt) quotes the attitudes of the believers despite there being tensions amongst themselves. In it we notice a number of important points:

ูˆูŽุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠู†ูŽ ุฌูŽุงุคููˆุง ู…ูู† ุจูŽุนู’ุฏูู‡ูู…ู’ ูŠูŽู‚ููˆู„ููˆู†ูŽ ุฑูŽุจู‘ูŽู†ูŽุง ุงุบู’ููุฑู’ ู„ูŽู†ูŽุง ูˆูŽู„ูุฅูุฎู’ูˆูŽุงู†ูู†ูŽุง ุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠู†ูŽ ุณูŽุจูŽู‚ููˆู†ูŽุง ุจูุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู†ู ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ุชูŽุฌู’ุนูŽู„ู’ ูููŠ ู‚ูู„ููˆุจูู†ูŽุง ุบูู„ู‘ู‹ุง ู„ู‘ูู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠู†ูŽ ุขู…ูŽู†ููˆุง ุฑูŽุจู‘ูŽู†ูŽุง ุฅูู†ู‘ูŽูƒูŽ ุฑูŽุคููˆููŒ ุฑู‘ูŽุญููŠู…ูŒ

(59:10) And so, they who come after them pray, โ€œO our Sustainer! Forgive us our sins, as well as those of our brethren who preceded us in faith, and let not our hearts entertain any unworthy thoughts or feelings against [any of] those who have attained to faith. O our Sustainer! Verily, Thou art compassionate, a dispenser of grace!โ€

1) The believer sees his own faults FIRST and seeks forgiveness for them FIRST before looking the faults of those he opposes. This means he truly looks at his own role and shortcomings in the matter before at others.

2) The believer does not necessarily attach blame to others. It may be that he is right and the other is wrong, but the language he uses is not antagonistic but rather reconciliatory.

3) The believer addresses his co-believer as โ€˜his brotherโ€™. Too often Muslims call each other names, hypocrites or even, God-forbid disbelievers. Not the early Muslims; even those they argued with they called โ€˜brothersโ€™. This is the respect given to those who preceded them in faith and so have accumulated more goodness to their service.

4) The believer sincerely prays not to have any rancour in his heart for the believer.

The Qurโ€™an also mentions how the believer prays not to be a fitnah – trial – for the oppressors (10:85) and disbelievers (60:5), so how then could he allow himself to be a fitnah for the believers?!

The attitude of the believer

There are always two or more parties who are in conflict. With all of these conflicts, it requires both sides of the believers to sincerely adopt these attitudes, otherwise one side will remain in darkness and devoid of the assistance of Allah (swt).

InshaAllah this the third and final part we will look at specific remedies to conflict within a community.

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