Building a society characterized by solidarity - I

Building a society characterized by solidarity - I

From a social perspective, the teachings of Islam aim to bring together all Muslims to be a unified entity, in conformity with the words of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “The example of the believers as regards their mutual love and compassion is like that of a single body. If any of its parts aches, all the other parts share in the sleeplessness and fever.” [Imam Muslim] The strong among them support the weak, and the rich help the poor. Social solidarity manifests in the Muslim community such that its objectives and implications are realized. There are many Sharee‘ah (Islamic Law) texts and provisions describing the Muslim community and how it should embody the spirit of solidarity.

There are multiple objectives for such solidarity that incorporate all the needs of the individual and the community, whether material or moral. Social solidarity means that Muslims should work together, each through his position and status, to preserve the public interests of the community as a whole and the private interests of the individuals, so that everyone in the community would feel that his rights are fulfilled and he, accordingly, is eager to fulfill his duties and obligations towards other members of his community. The scope of this solidarity then expands to encompass all people (not limited only among Muslims). Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.} [Quran 49:13] Allah, the Exalted, honored Man and commanded us to treat all children of Adam  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention accordingly (with respect). He Says (what means): {And We have certainly honored the children of Adam.} [Quran 17:70]

From day one, the teachings of Islam laid emphasis on fostering human ties, strengthening social bonds, and establishing equality among all people so that each and every Muslim would feel the bond of brotherhood with his fellow Muslims. Islam also established a social safety net on the basis of solidarity to enhance the moral and physical building of the individual and community. It laid the foundations of the righteous Muslim individual, the virtuous family, and the integrated society to ensure the establishment of the Muslim community that provides security and safety for all its members.

The circle of this solidarity begins with every Muslim individual as he refines his own ‘self’, takes care of it and rectifies it, directing it to what is good for himself and for all people, and then he tends to the bonds that connect him with the members of his family. Each family member bears his own responsibilities and shoulders his duties, acting upon the words of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “All of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects.” [Al-Bukhari] A man is a guardian in his family; he has rights and duties, and the same applies to the woman who has her own rights and duties. This critical task begins from the very moment a man chooses his prospective wife; he should choose someone from a righteous family to be a good building block for their family and be able to provide their children with a good upbringing that pleases Allah, the Exalted. This is why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “A woman is married for four [reasons]: her wealth, her noble descent, her beauty, and her religion. So win the religious woman – otherwise, you will be a loser.” [Al-Bukhari] The marital life should be founded on mutual kindness, as Allah, the Exalted, prescribed, acting upon the instructions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when he said: “The best of you are those who are best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [Imam At-Tirmithi]

As for the process of raising the children and taking care of them, it is a joint duty of both parents. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…} [Quran 66:6] This includes directing them from an early age towards what benefits them in their worldly lives and the Hereafter, starting with the acts of worship and all good deeds. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Command your children to perform prayer when they are seven years old, and beat them (for abandoning it) when they are ten.” [Imam Ahmad]

When these teachings are instilled within the individual at a young age, he has successfully taken the first steps in the right direction and recognized his position and status in his community. Islam is keen to foster solidarity among the Muslim individual and his community and harmoniously preserves both the private and public interests to ensure that neither would undermine the other. An individual interacts and cooperates with other members of his community to maintain this harmonious balance. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.} [Quran 5:2] On the other side, the community is responsible for preserving the private rights of the individuals, and this contributes to maintaining public order for the sake of the community and all its members.

The scope of such solidarity is not confined to the interests of the individual, the community, or even the country, but rather extends to include other communities and future generations, as confirmed by the words of Allah. He Says, (what means): {And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “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.”} [Quran 59:10] This is how the humanness of man that Allah, the Exalted, intends for us Muslims is realized, and it is how the enjoined solidarity is realized with its temporal and spatial dimensions.

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