In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.
Dear brothers and sisters! From a social perspective, the teachings of Islam was aim to bring together all Muslims to be a unified entity, in conformity with the words of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he said:
“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.” [Muslim]
Which means 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 realised. There are many Shari‘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 Almighty Says:
“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.” [Qur’an, 49:13]
Allah, the Exalted, honoured Man and commanded us to treat all children of Adam may Allah exalt his mention accordingly (with respect). He Says:
“And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam.” [Qur’an, 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 (Peace be upon him), when he said:
“All of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects.” [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 Muhammad (Peace be upon him) 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.” [Bukhari]
The marital life should be founded on mutual kindness, as Allah, the Exalted, prescribed, acting upon the instructions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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.” [At-Tirmizi]
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:
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…” [Qur’an, 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 (Peace be upon him) said:
“Command your children to perform prayer when they are seven years old, and beat them (for abandoning it) when they are ten.” [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 recognised 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 Almighty, Says:
“And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” [Qur’an, 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 Almighty Says:
“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.” [Qur’an, 59:10]
This is how the humanness of man that Allah, the Exalted, intends for us Muslims is realised, and it is how the enjoined solidarity is realised with its temporal and spatial dimensions.
Respected servants of Allah! One of the most important manifestations of solidarity which Islam is keen to instill in our communities is how to treat the elderly and take care of them, starting with one’s parents, acting upon the verse that reads:
“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months.” [Qur’an, 46:15]
Also, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“He is not one of us who is not merciful to our youngsters and does not respect and honour our elders.” [At-Tirmizi]
Then comes the duty of caring for the orphans, the poor, and the needy, and supporting them. Allah, The Almighty, Says:
“They ask you [O Muhammad] what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Qur’an, 2:215]
This can be achieved by providing job opportunities for all members of the community rather than concentrating the employment opportunities in specific segments or groups, eliminating the obstacles hindering the poor, and empowering them to break free from the feelings of inferiority to their peers.
Another important manifestation of solidarity in Islam is the enjoined kindness towards neighbours by keenly fulfilling their rights and preserving their interests. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.” It was asked, “Who is he, O Messenger of Allah?” He (Peace be upon him) said: “The one whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil.” [Bukhari]
Another manifestation is honouring guests and offering them hospitality, and this applies to your private guests or those visiting your country, your town or house, such as tourists or expatriates (guest workers). You should be hospitable to them all; the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should be hospitable to his guest.” [Bukhari]
There are many ways by means of which the members of the community can contribute to the realisation of this solidarity, including: Zakah, charity, expiation, Waqf (Islamic endowment), Wasiyyah (will), Ariyah (gratuitous loan of non-fungible objects or property), gifts, grants, and others. There are also other means which the government is responsible for, including: carrying out public projects, building infrastructure for the cities and villages, providing job opportunities for all members of the community, facilitating the fulfillment of people’s needs, organising transportation and communication means, and the means of individual solidarity among the members of the community such as facilitating the establishment of centers for collecting and distributing Zakah and facilitating their work, acting upon the verse that reads:
“Take [O, Muhammad] from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [the blessings of Allah] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” [Qur’an, 9:103]
Dear brothers and sisters! These were some of the features and manifestations of social solidarity in light of the teachings of Islam, and there is no doubt that this topic deserves more detailing, but brevity is the soul of wit, and less is always more; and Allah Knows best.
I ask Allah, the Most High to grant us success and enable us to be correct in what we say and write.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 15, 1444 AH (May 05, 2023).