Social solidarity in Islam

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


In the Muslim society you do not live by your own; you live for all other Muslims, and other Muslims live for you

The basis of social solidarity:

Social solidarity is based on kinship or neighborhood.

1- Neighborhood:

The Prophetic Sunnah is full of Ahadeeth with regard to the rights of the neighbor which are source of pride to every Muslim.
The following are some of these Ahadeeth:

Gabriel kept on commending the neighbour to me so that I thought he would make an heir

“Do you know what the rights of neighbors are?” asked the noble Prophet, peace be upon him.” Then he went on saying: “Help him if he asks for your help, give him relief if he seeks your relief, lend him if he needs a loan, show him concern if he is distressed, nurse him when he is ill, attend his funeral when he dies, congratulate him if he meets any good, sympathize with him if any calamity befalls him, do not block his air by raising your building high without his permission, harass him not, give him a share when you buy fruits, and if you do not give him, bring what you buy quietly and let not your children take them out to excite the jealousy of his children and let not the delicious smell of your cooking hurt him, unless you give him some of it (what you are cooking).”

There is social solidarity that is based on the closeness of place (neighborhood). There are lots of Ahadeeth in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, mentioned the rights and the duties of neighbors.

2- Kinship:

The Ahadeeth in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, reminded Muslims of their kinship are even more. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told us when someone gives Sadaqah or Zakat to his kin, he will be given two rewards; a reward for giving Sadaqah and a reward for giving this Sadaqah to his kin. Social solidarity should be based on geographical and genealogical bases, and all people, without exception, have relatives and neighbors.
Dear brothers, collaboration between Muslims always starts financially, and looking after your kin in Islam is one of the noblest transactional acts of worship, is not it? The number of the Ahadeeth in which this act of worship is mentioned is about 30. This act of worship starts with a phone call to keep in touch with your relatives, then it should be followed by a visit. After that, you can check their social, financial, educational and religious conditions, so that you can help whoever is poor by giving money, whoever has a social problem by giving him advice, whoever is ignorant or whose education is limited by educating him and so on. The main thing is helping your relatives in meeting their different needs. Having helped them, you are supposed to guide them to the Right Path of Allah. This is how Silatul Rahim(to have good relations with relatives and do good for them as possible) should be applied. Unfortunately, the majority of people void this act of worship from its gist, turning it into paying visits on the days of Eid. Most of the time people hope that they don’t find their relatives at home, and so it is enough for them to put Eid card on the door congratulating their relatives. You see who this wonderful social act of worship is distorted; it is no more than a card that is annually left on doors. Allah says:

(And lower your wings for the believers (be courteous to the fellow-believers))

[Al-Hijr, 88]

Types of social solidarity:

There are many types of social solidarity, one of them is financial, and another is moral; this type is manifested in a piece of advice, guidance, education and Da’awah.

1- Financial solidarity:

I was told about a famous family from Damascus who established an organization whose objectives are noble. The foremost of which is establishing a commercial firm that is financed by the members of the family. The firm is run by managers and professionals since it should have profits. Its profits are used to help the youth of this big family to get married and to get good education. All the members of this family have their share in the firm; the rich members financed it and the poor ones get benefit from it.
Dear brothers, cooperation is part of Islam, and it is a sign of civilization. Unless we collaborate with each other, we will not exalt in the sight of Allah. The charitable organization which I am referring to has educational objectives; from time to time it holds seminars and lectures for the members. Scholars are invited to give lectures, and I was once invited to give many lectures. Also, the organization has social committee to check the social, financial, educational and religious conditions of the families, so they report every family separately mentioning its subsistence-level condition; it looks for the families who need help from the firm. Furthermore, their educational condition is checked; if there are dropout children, it will convince them to get back to school. Also, if there are young members who were not accepted at public universities, it will give them money as tuition fees for the private universities they are accepted at.
Money will be collected to those students from private organizations in which the members of the family have their shares.
Dear brothers, why do not we do the same? We can do that. Allah does not burden a person beyond his scope, and this is within one’s scope. Allah says in a Quranic crystal-clear Ayah:

(Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression)

[Al-Ma'idah', 2]

If each one of us intends to have a method through which he can help his relatives, neighbors, colleagues and friends either financially or educationally, life will be much better.
Our master Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

If you give someone, make him rich

This doesn’t mean that you should give him a hundred million Liras, absolutely not. It means that you should teach him a handcraft or find him a job by which he can make a living.
A project has been established, and I participated in it. It started with a house which someone gave to an Organization for Training Girls (poor ones) Handcrafts. The poor girls are taught professional sewing techniques, and whoever succeeds in the successive courses is given a sewing machine and fabrics to sew clothes. These clothes are sold, and the money will be given to that girl. Hence, instead of having poor girls begging on streets, we make them productive members in this society, and so they are able to pay their Zakat instead of taking it from others.
Some people wrongly think that Zakat is to pay someone poor or someone who is starving a small amount of money. Doing this makes those who you pay money lazy. Let alone that they lose their dignity since they stand in the queue waiting for their turn to receive small amounts of money. When you pay Zakat, you are supposed to provide the poor with means through which they can work and make money.
I would like to remind you dear brothers that social solidarity is a serious issue, and each one of us has the ability to support it.

2- Moral solidarity:

I know many doctors who came from a far country with high certificates, and they went to different cities in Syria in order to give the information they have about their specialty to other doctors. They welcomed patients who suffered from difficult health conditions and came from different cities to Damascus. They were willing to treat them for free. When you serve people willingly, care about other’s interests as much as you do about yours and know about other’s concerns to relieve them as much as you do with yours, you will be exalted in the sight of Allah. Allah says:

(Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression)

[Al-Ma'idah', 2]

When you have a job vacancy, ask your fellow believers: Is there anyone who is jobless? By doing so, we solve the biggest problem the developing countries face, which is unemployment.
Unemployment is of two types, a real unemployment and a disguised one. The second type is implied in the job of people whose income does not suffice them, so they look for illegal ways to increase their income. On the other hand, those who belong to the first type are a burden on society.
Finding job opportunities to others can be done if only every one of us puts his efforts to help the members of his family.
I still remember the words of a brother who said to me once: “I have enough money for me, for my children and for my grandchildren, and I do not need to work. Therefore, I ask you to give me your advice concerning the factory I own. There are eighty workers working in it, but it is very hard to me to buy the raw materials whenever need them. Let alone, the other problems I face. In brief, I am paying extra effort for nothing in return. Therefore, I am thinking of shutting the factory down. What do you think?” I said to him: “Have you thought of those eighty workers? Because of your factory, eighty houses have incomes. It is most likely that the income you give them meet most of their needs. Do you believe that if you keep the factory running, you are the biggest winner although you may gain nothing? That is because you give incomes to eighty houses.” That incident made me appreciate whoever is an industrialist, because the industrialists have 1000 workers, 800 workers or 1200 workers working in their factories or whatever industrial facility they own. Hence, the industrialist provides 1200 houses with incomes. I repeat again: when you serve the creations instead of serving your own interests, you will get closer to Allah.

Helping one another is obligatory in Islam:

Dear brothers, helping one another is an obligation in Islam, because every ordained command in Quran entails obligation, Allah says in the Noble Quran:

(Help you one another)

[Al-Ma'idah', 2]

By the way, I always say to you that man has his own nature, and he has a Divine assignment. This nature is his characteristics and qualities, and the Divine assignment is the commands and prohibitions ordained by Allah. The conflict between the two is the price for Paradise.
To elaborate the conflict between one’s nature and the Divine assignment consider the following examples: your nature urges you to take money, while the Divine assignment orders you to spend it. Your nature likes sleeping all the night, while the Divine assignment requires waking up to pray Al-Fajr. Your nature makes you gossip about scandals, while the Divine assignment orders you to keep silent. Your nature makes you gaze at women’s beauty, while the Divine assignment orders you to lower your gaze. Hence the conflict between man’s nature and the Divine assignment is the price one pays to enter Paradise.
Keep in mind that one’s nature is individual, whereas the Divine assignment is collective. Therefore, if you stick to your nature, you live alone, you enjoy life alone and you earn money alone, but when you help other people, you act upon Allah’s Order, because Allah’s order requires helping one another. Almighty Allah says:

(Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression)

[Al-Ma'idah', 2]

Dear brothers, I would like to mention an issue which I hope it is clear enough to you: you might be rich and you pay your Zakat, but who told you that the believer should pay only Zakat? Whoever thinks in such a way is mistaken, for Allah says:

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allah, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat)

[Al-Baqarah, 177]

Paying Zakat is one thing, and giving wealth, in spite of love for it, is another. Zakat is Fard, whereas giving the money you love (Sadaqah) marks your love to Allah. Hence, when we understand this great religion properly according to Quran and Sunnah, we will not consider it mere acts of worship, but rather, we will see it as an integrated method for life.

A call to practical steps towards the social solidarity:

We are fed up with words which have no value as long as they are not turned into action, so let me urge you to start with practical steps.
If a member of the family is good at a certain subject, for example Mathematics, he can give weekly lessons to the ninth grade students before the final exam. Also, collaboration is to find a job for jobless members of your family or of your brothers in the Masjid. Moreover, someone may help an excellent student to study medicine if he does not have enough money to pay the fees of the faculty. He can appoint him Imam in the Masjid of the Faculty of Medicine, and so he is exempted from paying the fees. Actually, thinking of others is a good deed, while living alone without planning for a supporting project, without helping others and without checking the situations of other people or caring about them, because someone is preoccupied with his own concerns, hardships, worries and enjoyments, drives him away from Allah.
I was invited to one of them with a number of outstanding members of the society. One of those people was a dean of a faculty who has dedicated five annual scholarships of his faculty to the youth of the village (where the organization is located). As for the hospital, it treats a specific number of patients for free in that village. How great this collaboration is! One may cry out of happiness when he sees how people and scholars have participated in supporting this organization. This is what collaboration is all about, and our life should be built on collaboration. The following Ayah is so clear regarding this point:

(Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression)

[Al-Ma'idah', 2]

This Ayah is fundamental in Islam. Whoever collaborates with his fellow brother is doing so as much as he obeys Allah, and whoever competes with his fellow brother, is doing so as much as he disobeys Allah.

Umar said to Abu Bakr: “Hold out your hand so that I may give you the pledge of loyalty.” Abu Bakr said, “No, you give me your hand so that I may pledge loyalty to you, because you are stronger than me and more suitable to the Khilafah.” Umar took the hand of Abu Bakr and pledge allegiance to him saying, “My strength is not of any value when compared to your merits and seniority. And if it is of any value then my strength added to yours will successfully run the Khilafah.”

Collaboration is a sign of civilization:

Dear brothers, civilization lies in collaboration, solidarity and in bringing efforts together. When you care for the interests of society, you are an exalted person, when you care for others’ concerns, you are more exalted and when you donate your money, time, knowledge and expertise to people around you, you are the most exalted.
Collaboration should take the place of competition.
We compete with each other and we destroy one another, whether in a company, in a firm or in a department. We keep waiting for someone to make a mistake, because we have no idea about the concept of teamwork, and collaboration is missing in our life. Be aware, collaboration is an essential part of Islam, and it is one of its morals. Stop waiting for your colleague to make a mistake, so that you hurry and tell your boss about it. Do not exaggerate your colleague’s mistake before the manager saying that he is ignorant, because he has made a deadly mistake. As a believer, you should go to him directly, tell him that he has committed a mistake and teach him how he can correct it. When you do that, he will ask Allah to reward you, and you will be considered a true believer.
Most of us at work whether in departments, factories, firms or establishments destroy one another, which marks our backwardness. The society of believers is different; the believer should point out his colleague’s mistake in private, i.e. no one knows about it but his colleague and him. I have seen lots of arguments in business, in firms, in establishments, in departments and in families. They compete with each other, they disclose the mistakes of one another in public and they report each other to the boss to destroy one another. I ask Allah to make us prosperous and successful, and I ask Him to help you collaborate with one another including me of course.. Bring your efforts together, so that Allah may be pleased with us, and He may bestow His mercy upon us because of collaborating with one another.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Prepared by: Noora Al Sharabi




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