By Ml Sulaiman Ravat
The month of Ramadan is a month of brotherhood. All Muslims worldwide irrespective of colour, race, gender, age or position, collectively and simultaneously responded to Allahs command of fasting. We all had to withstand the pangs of hunger and thirst. There were no exemptions based on colour and race. We broke fast together, and stood side by side in Taraaweeh Salaah.
Similarly, on the day of Eid we show compassion to our fellow Muslims by discharging our Sadaqatul Fitr. For this Ummah to revive itself and move forward we need to rekindle the spirit of Islamic brotherhood.
Today we identify ourselves as followers of a certain leader, citizens of a certain country members of a certain race yet this has been our downfall. Our enemies plotted the demise of our brotherhood and replaced it with national interests; hence we are so disjointed and fragmented. We extend a helping hand only to those who share our skin colour. We feel sympathy for only those who share the same background as us. As a result we are failing on a social as well as political level. We must remind ourselves of the express statement of Allah: The believers are all brothers.
The Islamic brotherhood is not based on economic interests, race or colour but on Iman. Not only is it based on Iman, it is part of Iman. Nabi S.A.W said: You cannot enter Jannah unless you become a total believer and you cannot become a total believer unless you love each other. (Muslim)
Islam places a lot of emphasis on brotherhood. The Quran always addresses the believers and not the believer. The pillars of Islam have a collective form. Salaah performed collectively merits 27 times more reward then if performed individually. Zakah ensures the rich take care of the poor. Fasting ensures unity in time. Hajj ensures unity in time and place. Brotherhood is one of the greatest achievements of Islam and continues to be one of its greatest goals.
Yes, even in this era it can be revived. Let us not forget where it all began. It began in Arabia, a most unlikely place where civil war was a way of life. Yet from that environment Islam produced a community which became the prime example of brotherhood. Allah describes the Sahabas brotherhood and unity as if it were a solid building.
We need to rekindle that spirit of brotherhood which the Sahaba had. The brotherhood of the Ansaar who were prepared to share everything with their Muhaajirin brothers after the Hijra, and the spirit of the Muhaajirin who returned the favour after the battle of Khaibar by paying them back in full. Allah describes the brotherhood of the Sahaba: They prefer others over themselves even though they themselves are in need.
There are many incidents which highlight this quality of theirs. I will just briefly mention two of the more famous ones:
The Sahabi who instructed his wife to put the hungry kids to bed and switch off the lantern so that the guest could eat without realizing that the hosts were not eating due to the shortage of food.
The Sahaba lying injured on the battleground in the pangs of death, each one refusing to take the water because he heard the agonizing cries of his brother until each one gave preference to the other and in the process all of them embraced martyrdom without the water. Even in their final moments they kept up the spirit of brotherhood.
Subhanallah! Today we have become very self-centered and selfish. We worry only about the establishment of our own empires and the fulfilment of our own needs. We have put high walls segregating ourselves from the community. We dont seem to care if our neighbour goes hungry or if our brother is in difficulty. We leave the plight of the widows and orphans to organizations and satisfy our conscience by signing a cheque. We want the world for ourselves but we couldnt care less about the needs of our brothers.
Nabi (S.A.W) has said: None of you is a true Muslim until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself. (Bukhari/Muslim)