Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Friday, I spoke about the five pillars of Islam and how each practice and belief contribute towards building our emaan. I spoke that while the other four pillars can be considered four corners of the building, Tawheed and taqwa was the base of our emaan... it forms the very foundation of everything we believe. It is through Taqwa and Tawheed, that among the many gifts that Islam gave us, we were given the gift of brotherhood, hence today’s topic of discussion is what brotherhood means in Islam and how are we to help each other as Muslims. Islam, as a religion, not only encourages the concept of brotherhood and sisterhood, it commands us to be together and to perceive each other as brothers, as comrades. Allah SWT made this clear in Surah Al Imran (Surah 3, Ayat 103) where He says:
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” This Ayat, if self-evident that Allah SWT has brought us together as Muslims in arms. It emphasizes that while we must strive to follow Allah SWT, it is also His command to ensure that we stay
together... that our strength is in numbers. And not just that, Allah SWT further elaborates on how to help each other in the following ayah 104, where Allah SWT is further saying:
“And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” According to Dr Israr Ahmad, one of the scholars from Pakistan, Allah SWT is instructing via this ayah that to ensure that we maintain a certain standard to stay good quality Muslims, we must bring few people together within us that will help everyone to stay in tracks... not like a priest who delegates themselves as a middleman between you and Allah SWT, but more like a sibling helping one another. So, the instruction here, is that help both ways... by either actively taking part in programs and activities that help with nation building, or by passively contributing in encouraging, promoting and supporting those who do. The role of a Muslim isn’t confined to a masjid alone, it is to ensure
those around us also excel with us and the only way to do it is by:
1. Perceiving each other as part of a giant Muslim family where everyone came from the same ancestor, Adam AS
2. Helping in whatever means that are available to you. If you have time, help another brother in masjid or help them with their studies or help uplift them so they don’t feel alone. It was Prophet SAW’s sunnah that even when he walked the streets, if he made eye contact with another person, he would show a smile and maybe a salaam if they could hear him just because its polite. It is also part of his sunnah that prophet SAW use to pick out stones or sharp objects away from paths of crossing, so others won’t get hurt. And it is also part of his Sunnah to deliver khutbah and to listen to his Ummati (fellow Muslims) when needed to ensure all affairs are taken care of e.g., social issues, finances, any philanthropic projects, etc. As I stand here talking about Ayats 103 & 104 from Surah al-Imran, Allah SWT has also summed up what will happen if we do become divided.
In Ayat 105, Allah SWT says: “And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to
them. And those will have a great punishment.” With this ayahs, Allah SWT is making a statement, He is suggesting to build a nation among
ourselves... a nation that encourages good behavior and discourages habits and practices considered evil in the eyes of Allah SWT. This is while He cautions that if we fail in that pursuit, even after whatever Allah SWT has revealed to us, then we have earned nothing but Allah SWT’s wrath. Azab- un-Azeem is the word chosen, a great punishment, so this word of caution should be taken with utmost seriousness.)
Dear Brothers and sisters,
To recap, it is part of achieving taqwa (higher status in the eyes of Allah SWT) to belief in Him as the sole provider and to promote the good things He has prescribed. Simultaneously, we are also to move away from what he has forbidden by Allah SWT (made haram). And to ensure we do that, we must realize that as Muslims, we are brothers and sisters in spirit to each other. We are like different parts of the same body so if one part feels pain, the other part will automatically be affected. And much like the body, not everyone has the same role. Allah SWT has made all of us equal to each other in status, but we all bring in different skills and experiences to the table. Hence, while we all must strive to be good towards each other, recognize your role in how you can help. The best way to do that is by asking how you can help... not how you think you can help... ask how they think you can help... there is a difference. If they say help us financially, try creating means for them to become self-sufficient, if they need help with an activity, help them by devoting time and energy towards it, if someone says they are going through a hard time mentally, help them by just being there in spirits and by make duas for them. These are all ways to help one another and as made clear by Allah SWT, those who help one another are the people who’ll succeed.
I’ll end today’s khutbah by quoting two narrations of the same hadiths. The first one is from Sahih Bukhari (Hadith 13, graded as Sahih), where Anas ibn Malik RA reported: The Prophet SAW said: “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” The second narration is from Sahih Muslim (Hadith 45, graded as Sahih), where the Prophet SAW said: “...Until he loves for his neighbor what he loves for himself.”