Islam is growing fast in the West and we need foundational principles that will keep us grounded through thick and thin. In Episode 43 of the Life Haqq Podcast, Shaykh Khalid Yasin and Dr. Syed Ibn Iqbal uncover some of the issues in our Muslim communities, specifically in North America. Shaykh Khalid Yasin prescribes the perfect antidote and sums it up in three simple, but comprehensive, solutions: brotherhood, community and social responsibility. He describes these as the fertilizer, mentioning that we need to put this into the soil for our Ummah to thrive.
When speaking of brotherhood, Dr. Syed and Shaykh Khalid Yasin touch on that true sincerity of what brotherhood means. They discuss having that respect for one another and that level of trust. Dr. Syed accurately states that, “True brotherhood is not transactional.” We should not simply be returning the favour to one another. This made me reflect on the state of our Ummah. Are brothers and sisters truly being sincere and loving to one another for the sake of Allah (SWT)? Does that brotherhood and sisterhood still exist in our Ummah today?
Recall the hadith, where Abdullah ibn Umar reported:
[Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2310, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2580]
The Prophet (SAWS) said, “The Muslim is a brother to another Muslim. He does not wrong him, nor surrender him. Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs. Whoever relieves a Muslim from distress, Allah will relieve him from distress on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults on the Day of Resurrection.”
This makes us reflect on if we actually consider another Muslim our true brother or sister. We call each other “brother” and “sister” but when it comes down to going beyond that lip service, our community is lacking in these strong foundational relationships.
Going along this topic of community, the conversation in the episode moved from delving into brotherhood to touch on both community and social responsibility. Shaykh Khalid Yasin and Dr. Syed discussed some very relevant issues around the ethnic divide and racism in our Muslim communities. We are unwilling accept this and choose to remain blind to the exclusiveness and racism. Although we may not say it, certain Masajid have become attributable to specific ethnic groups. Shaykh Khalid Yasin commented on this issue specifically during the Life Haqq episode saying, “The masajid belongs to Allah, we don’t belong to the masjid.” We say that we are one Ummah and then refuse to associate with someone who may not identify with the same culture as us. These divides were not prescribed by our deen.
Al-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported:
[Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5665, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586]
The Prophet (SAWS) said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
But how can we be one body when some of us are not even willing to be in the same masjid as one another? This is also where Shaykh Khalid Yasin raised some great points regarding our social responsibility as Muslims. Increasing that love for those around you and actually caring about what happens to them sincerely will become evident in your actions. We need to be willing to face and deal with the racism and injustices inside and outside of our Muslim community.
It is stated in the Quran,
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [5:8]
We know that Allah (SWT) is the Most Just and He has also commanded us to be just and stand firm for His sake. We must be willing to break the bad habits that have been established in our communities. Having these three components of brotherhood, community and social responsibility may bring us one step closer to becoming that true Ummah from the time of the Prophet (SAWS), inshaAllah. These three ideas proposed in the Life Haqq podcast episode are bringing it back to the foundations of the Qu’ran and Sunnah. It seems simple, but we ourselves have complicated the situation. We need to bring it back to the basics. We need to bring our communities back to our mission in life as prescribed by Islam.
Article by Sehrish Syed