Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Love: Mark of the Muslim Community|
|07/18/01 at 06:14:12|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
Love: Mark of the Muslim Community
Whenever Islamic society exists, the mark of that society is the love which its individual members feel toward one another. An individual in the Islamic society tries to fulfil whatever duties are assigned to him or her. It is also demonstrated in the way Muslims hurry to help one another in every situation which requires help. The absence of this love foretells a weakness of the bond of faith and, indeed, a weakness of faith itself.
Scholars of the early period of Islam, when love and companionship were very strong in the Muslim community, used to say that the first tie to disappear is the bond of unity and love between believers. This means that its loss signals weakness of faith which leads to a total change in people's behavior. This statement is not made in a leisurely way. It is indeed learned from the companions of the Prophet who must have had firm grounds to make such a statement. That sound ground could only be that they must have heard it, or something similar to it, from the Prophet himself.
Indeed the Prophet makes a very similar statement and in much stronger terms. In a Hadith, Abu Hurairah quotes the Prophet as saying: "By Him who holds my soul in His hand, you shall never be admitted into heaven until you have accepted Islam; and you do not truly accept Islam until you love one another. Spread the greeting of peace in order to love one another. Beware of hatred, because it is the razor. I do not say that it shaves hair, but it shaves religion altogether." (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-AdabAl-Mufrad, Muslim, Abu Dawood and IbnMajah.)
There can be no stronger warning against allowing hatred to exist within the Muslim community. The Muslims have a keen sense of the need to preserve their faith. When something threatens the existence of faith in their community, it must be viewed with utmost seriousness.
They know that when they abandon faith, they revert back to a state of unfaith which, in their sense, makes their life take a fashion akin to that of animals. In their sense, which is the true sense, it is faith which gives to human life its meaning and its distinction from the life of animals. Hence, when something is described by the Prophet as razor which shaves faith altogether, then it must be something to guard against. That is why a true believer in Islam does not allow himself to entertain any evil thought against his fellow Muslims. He does not allow a feeling of hatred to exist within him.
The Prophet' s companions were keenly aware of this fact. They knew that prior to becoming Muslims, their ties had a very narrow-minded basis. They fought with their tribes against people with whom they truly had no quarrel. Moreover, the quality of their lives left much to be desired. Hence, they would never barter away the elevation which they had experienced for anything in the world.
They demonstrated a bond of love for each other which was unequaled in any human society. Whenever a Muslim community exists, it must have the same strong feelings of unity, brotherhood, love and companionship among its members. Otherwise, it is not a truly Islamic community.
Other communities may speak of a tie of brotherhood or citizenship or a tribal tie which unites them. None has a real substance as that of the brotherhood and companionship that exist between Muslims. This is not surprising because it is a quality which God has planted within the Muslim community. Indeed, God Himself points to this in the Qur'an, when He addresses the Prophet mentioning the love and companionship which He has established in the hearts of the believers as one of the favors which He has granted to the Prophet. "It is He who has strengthened you with victory (given to you by Him) and with the believers whose hearts He has united. Had you spent all wealth on earth, you could not have united their hearts, but God has brought about this unity between their hearts. He is almighty, wise." (8: 62-63)
This unity and feelings of love and companionship are, then, the work of God Himself. They are substantive, not abstract. It brings their hearts and their souls together. This is what the Prophet points out in a Hadith reported by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas, one of the highly learned companions of the Prophet: "The souls of two believers would meet when they are as far apart as the distance covered by a traveler in a full day, although neither of them has seen his fellow believer." (Related by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad.) This Hadith speaks of an actual meeting of souls despite the fact that the two believers are physically wide apart. Moreover, their souls meet although they themselves do not know each other.
The love that exists between them is generated by their common belief in God and in Islam. That is certainly a strong tie which cannot be easily overlooked. How souls meet is something which we cannot tell, since knowledge of the world of souls and spirits is the preserve of God. He instructs the Prophet in the Qur'an to say to those who have asked him about the soul that "the knowledge of the soul belongs to God alone."
That they meet, however, is something we know for certain, because the Prophet speaks about it. He tells us: "Souls are like soldiers: those who have a common grounds are united, and those who have no common grounds between them remain in conflict."
This is something that the companions of the Prophet have always confirmed. No lesser an authority than Abdullah ibn Abbas, the Prophet's cousin and learned companion says: "Favors may be met with ingratitude and kinship may be severed. However, we have seen nothing stronger than hearts drawing close to each other. "They can draw close together through faith. This is the meaning of the Qur'anic verses quoted above.
In practical terms, this love, unity and feeling of companionship demonstrate themselves in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most vivid of these ways is seen in the way the Muslim community looks after the weak, the poor, the widows, the elderly and the very young.
[i]The above article, authored by brother Adil Salahi, is reproduced from the Arab News of 30 April 1999. Whoever gains any benefit out it, please pray for him and his family. Jazakallahu Khairan.[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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