By Umarrah Javed Al-Hadi

In the Qur’ān, the concept of community holds immense significance. It emphasizes the idea of unity, togetherness, and mutual support among believers. The Qur’ān invites us to understand the importance of fostering a strong and cohesive community, recognizing it as a source of strength, guidance, and spiritual growth.

In the Qur’ān, the word commonly used to refer to the concept of ‘community’ is Ummah (Arabic: أمة). It signifies a group of people united by a shared belief, purpose, or affiliation. The term ‘Ummah’ is frequently used to describe the Muslim community as a whole, emphasising the unity and collective identity of believers. Alhamdulillāh, we as Muslims are the Ummah of our Noble Prophet ﷺ.

In this article, we will explore the profound lessons our deen offers regarding the significance of community and how it can positively impact our lives.

Collective worship

Congregational prayer, known as Salat al-Jama’ah (Arabic: صلاة الجماعة), holds numerous benefits for individuals and the Muslim community as a whole.

Unity and brotherhood:

Participating in congregational prayer promotes a sense of unity and brotherhood among Muslims. When believers gather in the mosque or any other designated place of prayer, they stand shoulder to shoulder, regardless of their social status, ethnicity, or background. This physical closeness reflects the unity and equality of all believers in front of Allāh, fostering a strong bond of brotherhood and solidarity within the community.

Spiritual enhancement:

Congregational prayer enhances an individual’s spiritual connection with Allāh. Praying alongside fellow Muslims in a collective manner creates an atmosphere of reverence, devotion, and concentration. This environment uplifts the spirit and helps individuals to focus solely on their relationship with the Divine. The collective recitation of the Qur’ān and the synchronized movements during prayer contribute to a deeper spiritual experience and strengthen one’s faith.

Increased reward:

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ emphasized the multiplied reward of congregational prayer. He stated:

“The prayer of a person in congregation is twenty-seven times superior to the prayer said alone” (Sahih Muslim).

Learning and community engagement:

Congregational prayer provides an opportunity for learning and engagement within the community. Mosques often serve as centers of knowledge, where individuals can benefit from the wisdom and guidance of knowledgeable scholars. Attending congregational prayer regularly allows Muslims to interact with fellow worshippers, exchange greetings, share experiences, and participate in discussions on matters of faith and community welfare.

Social support and networking:

Congregational prayer facilitates social connections and support networks. By regularly attending prayers, individuals become familiar with fellow Muslims, building friendships and support systems. These connections extend beyond the mosque and into various aspects of life, enabling believers to find assistance, guidance, and a sense of belonging within their community.

Strengthening the Ummah:

Congregational prayer contributes to the overall strength and unity of the Muslim Ummah (community). When Muslims gather for prayer, they demonstrate their commitment to Islam and showcase the beauty of their faith to society. This visible unity and devotion can inspire others, promoting a positive image of Islam and encouraging more individuals to join the community.

Brotherhood and sisterhood

Both brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam are based on the principle of mutual respect, cooperation, and care for one another. They extend beyond cultural, national, or social differences, unifying believers under the banner of Islam. These concepts serve as a reminder that Muslims are part of a larger family, and they have a responsibility to support, protect, and nurture one another in their journey of faith.

Brotherhood in Islam:

Brotherhood in Islam, known as ukhuwwah (Arabic: أخوة), highlights the unity, love, and support that should exist among Muslim men. It is a bond based on the belief in the oneness of Allāh and the acceptance of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the final messenger.

The Qur’ān describes this bond in Surah Al-Hujurat:

“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers.” (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:10)

In the Islamic concept of brotherhood, Muslims are encouraged to treat each other with kindness, compassion, and respect. They are urged to assist one another in times of need, support each other’s spiritual growth, and work together for the betterment of the community. Brotherhood in Islam transcends racial, ethnic, and social barriers, promoting equality and unity among believers.

Sisterhood in Islam:

Sisterhood in Islam, known as ukhuwwah (Arabic: أخوة) or ukhuwwah niswiyyah (Arabic: أخوة نسوية), emphasises the bond and solidarity among Muslim women. It reflects the understanding that all Muslim women are part of the same faith community, and they share similar challenges, experiences, and aspirations.

The Qur’ān encourages sisterhood and cooperation among Muslim women in Surah At-Tawbah:

“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another.” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:71)

Sisterhood in Islam promotes unity, support, and empowerment among Muslim women. It encourages them to uplift and inspire one another, to share knowledge and wisdom, and to contribute actively to the betterment of the community. It highlights the importance of maintaining strong bonds of friendship and sisterly love, while adhering to the principles and teachings of Islam.

Sharing knowledge and passing on wisdom

In Islam, the sharing of knowledge and wisdom is highly encouraged and holds great importance. The acquisition and dissemination of knowledge are seen as acts of worship and a means of seeking closeness to Allāh. Islam places a strong emphasis on education and encourages Muslims to seek knowledge in various fields, including religious sciences, natural sciences, arts, and humanities. Here are some key aspects of sharing knowledge and wisdom from an Islamic perspective:

Seeking knowledge:

Islam encourages Muslims to seek knowledge throughout their lives. The first revelation to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ began with the command to “Read” (Surah Al-Alaq, 96:1), highlighting the significance of knowledge. Muslims are encouraged to pursue both religious and worldly knowledge, as understanding the world around them enhances their appreciation of Allah’s creation and their ability to fulfil their responsibilities as vicegerents on Earth.

Importance of education:

Education is highly valued in Islam. Muslims are encouraged to seek knowledge from reputable sources, to acquire skills and expertise, and to engage in lifelong learning.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim” (Sunan Ibn Majah).

This obligation applies to both men and women, emphasising the importance of education for all members of the Muslim community.

Giving back knowledge:

Islam encourages the sharing of knowledge and wisdom with sincerity and humility. Muslims are encouraged to pass on beneficial knowledge to others, as it is considered a charitable act that benefits the individual and the community.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The best among you are those who learn the Qur’ān and teach it” (Sahih Bukhari).

By sharing knowledge, Muslims contribute to the intellectual and spiritual growth of others.

Preserving and disseminating Islamic Knowledge:

Islamic tradition places a great emphasis on preserving and disseminating knowledge related to Islam. Scholars and teachers play a vital role in transmitting religious knowledge and guiding the community. The Qur’ān and Hadith literature serve as primary sources of Islamic knowledge, and scholars interpret and explain their teachings to the wider community. Through formal and informal educational institutions, Muslims are encouraged to benefit from the knowledge of reputable scholars.

Adhering to ethical standards:

When sharing knowledge, Muslims are encouraged to do so with utmost honesty, integrity, and accuracy. The dissemination of knowledge should be based on reliable sources, sound evidence, and scholarly consensus. Muslims are also advised to be mindful of the context and audience when sharing knowledge, ensuring that it is presented in a respectful and beneficial manner.

Social support and networking

Social support and networking play significant roles in Islam, promoting compassion, empathy, and community engagement. Islam encourages believers to actively support and uplift one another, fostering a sense of shared responsibility within the Muslim community. Here are some key aspects of social support and networking from an Islamic perspective:

Caring for others:

Islam teaches the importance of caring for others and extending a helping hand to those in need. Muslims are encouraged to show compassion, kindness, and empathy towards their fellow believers and humanity as a whole.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are like one body; when one part of it suffers, the whole body responds with sleeplessness and fever” (Sahih Muslim).

This hadith highlights the interconnectedness of believers and the importance of providing support to alleviate the suffering of others.

Acts of charity:

Charity, known as sadaqah (Arabic: صدقة), is an integral part of Islamic practice. Muslims are encouraged to give generously to those in need, both within and outside the community. Acts of charity can include giving financial assistance, providing food and clothing, offering emotional support, or contributing time and skills to community service projects. By engaging in charitable acts, Muslims demonstrate solidarity, compassion, and a commitment to social well-being.

Establishing support networks:

Islam encourages the establishment of support networks within the Muslim community. Mosques and Islamic centers serve as gathering places where individuals can come together, build relationships, and provide support to one another. These networks offer opportunities for socializing, sharing knowledge, and addressing communal issues. They play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging and providing a support system for individuals facing challenges or seeking guidance.

Mutual responsibility:

The religion promotes the concept of mutual responsibility within the community. Muslims are encouraged to be actively engaged in the welfare of others, particularly those in vulnerable situations. The Qur’ān emphasizes this mutual responsibility in Surah Al-Ma’idah:

“Help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sin and aggression.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

This verse highlights the importance of cooperating in acts of goodness and righteousness, collectively working to build a just and harmonious society.

Upholding justice and equality:

Our deen calls for the establishment of social justice and equality. Muslims are encouraged to stand up against injustice, advocate for the rights of the oppressed, and work towards a fair and equitable society. This involves addressing social issues such as poverty, discrimination, and inequality. By actively engaging in efforts to promote justice and equality, Muslims contribute to the well-being and upliftment of the community as a whole.

Conclusion

In summary, Islam is holds both as well as teaching the believer to build and maintain their personal connection with Allāh, the deen reminds us repeatedly that we are not alone. We are here as a collective and it is a part of our responsibility to care for our community and work together to strive for righteousness. May Allāh reunite all of us in the best of places with the best of people.

What do you think? Share your reflections below!

References:
The Holy Qur’ān
Sahih Muslim
Sahih Bukhari
Sunan Ibn Majah