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Public Wellbeing from the Perspective of the Islamic Shari’ah

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Help one another to do what is right and good; do not help one another towards sin and hostility.’” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

When contemplating the rulings of the Shari’ah, one finds that the Shari’ah came to achieve the public interests of nations and individuals, elevate human soul, and raise it to a higher degree. Thus, everything that achieves the public welfare of people is in accordance with the Shari’ah, even if it not stated explicitly in its texts. Also, everything that contradicts these interests has no foundations in the noble Shari’ah.

The pure religion of Islam does not acknowledge individuality, selfishness or negativity, and does not accept the preference of individual interest over the public one. Islam acknowledges only the public wellbeing, sincere giving, cooperation in the cause of righteousness, piety based on love and selflessness, so that the society can achieve the desired advancement and praiseworthy solidarity. In this way, one’s work will be for the sake of the public interest of the whole society, which in turn, achieves the wellbeing of the individual and the group as a whole. This fosters, among all citezens, the feeling of one body that is, one of its limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever. May Allah have mercy with Poet Shawqi who said:

A land whose young men died to grant it life

They sacrificed themselves to make their people survive

No doubt that when reviewing the Book of Allah, one becomes fully certain that the general and universal purpose of the rulings of the Shari’ah is to achieve people’s public welfare, and to protect them against harm and evil. The Glorious Qur’an asserts that preserving interests and achieving the public good is the approach of the Messengers and Prophets. The Almighty Allah has sent not a Prophet or a Messenger except to bring happiness to his people without asking them for any reward or a worldly benefit. The Almighty Allah tells us what Prophet Noah (PBUH) said to his people “And my people, I do not ask you for money, my reward is with Allah.” Also, Prophet Hud said, “I ask no reward from you, my people; my reward comes only from Him who created me. Why do you not use your reason?” And Prophet Abraham,  Khalilullah (a title which implies that he is very close to his Lord), invoked his Lord with a prayer that shows his keenness to benefit his people saying, “Abraham said, ‘My Lord, make this land secure and provide with fruits those of its people who believe in God and the Last Day.’ It is known that the meaning of the word “this land” is its people. When a place is secure and its people have their provision and livelihood, they will worship Allah safely and peacefully, with assured and calm hearts that seek to please Allah Who said, “It was He who brought you into being from the earth and made you inhabit it, so ask forgiveness from Him, and turn back to Him: my Lord is near, and ready to answer.’”

The Islamic Shari’ah came to raise this human value and reformative principle, and to establish the rules for maintaining the stability of society and striving for its advancement and progress by giving preferrnce to the interest of the group over the interest of the individual. The lives of the Companions are rich with examples that prove this.

It is reported that Aisha said, “Had we wished to eat to our full, we would have done so, but Muhamad (PBUH) used to prefer others to himself.” Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri narrated, “Once we were on a journey with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) when a rider came and began looking right and left. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever has an extra mount should offer it to him who is without it, and whoever has surplus food should give it to him who has nothing;’ and the Prophet continued mentioning other properties until we thought that none of us had any right to surplus of his own property.

According to the two Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Aisha said, “A poor woman came to me carrying her two daughters. I gave her three date-fruits. She gave a date to each of them and then she took up one date-fruit and brought that to her mouth to eat, but her daughters asked her that also. She then divided between them the date-fruit that she intended to eat. This (kind) treatment of her impressed me and I mentioned that to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) who said, ‘Verily, Allah has assured Paradise for her, because of (this act) of her’” or said, “He, the Almighty, has rescued her from Hell- Fire.”

During a year of drought, workers of Uthman Ibn Affan came from Syria, bringing him one thousand camels laden with wheat – or other food. The merchants came to Uthman who asked them, ‘What do you want?’They said; ‘people are suffering great hardship, so sell the food you received.’ Uthman said, “How much profit you will give me?’ The merchants said, ‘We offer you the double of what you have paid.’ Uthman said, “I have been offered a better price.’ The merchants said, “we offer you three times, then four, then five’, and Uthman refused too. The merchants said, “O Abu Amr, there are no merchants in Medina other than us. Who has given you a better offer?” He replied, “Allah, the Most Exalted, has given me a better offer, ten for every dirham. Can you offer me more?” They said, “No, by Allah.” Uthman said, “I call upon Allah to bear witness that I am giving this food as charity for the poor Muslims.”

Also, when the Prophet (PBUH) asked the companions to buy the well of Rumah that was possessed with a Jew who wanted to sell it for a high price, he (PBUH) said to the companions, ” “Who will buy the well of Rumah and dip his bucket in it alongside the buckets of the Muslims?” ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) then went to the Jew and negotiated with him; yet the latter refused to sell the entire well, which is why he bought its half for twelve thousands dirhams, and he made it under the free disposal of Muslims. The selling contract decrees that the well’s ownership will be divided between ‘Uthman and the Jew. So, when it was the day of ‘Uthman, Muslims used to take from the water what sufficed them for two days. When the Jews saw that, he said, “You have made the well of no avail for me,” which is why ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) bought the second half for eight thousand dirhams. ‘Uthman’s action comes in response to the Prophet’s order that aims at realizing the interests of Muslims.

During the era of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), it happened that Al-Masjid Al-Haram (i.e. the Sacred Mosques) was not spacious enough to receive people, which is why he (may Allah be pleased with him) forced the owner of those houses in the proximity of the Masjid to sell them, and said to them, “You are the ones who came and settled around the Ka’ba, not vice versa.”

The same thing was also done by ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him), yet people objected to him, which is why he said to them, “What dared you stand against me is my forbearance; otherwise, ‘Umar himself did so, yet none dare to oppose him.” Then, he (may Allah be pleased with him) ordered that they should be imprisoned. This clearly indicates that it is lawful to dispossess one’s individual ownership for the sake of the public interest, like widening roads and graves and establishing mosques, fortresses, and public organizations, such as hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, etc., because public interest is given precedence to the private one.

In this connection, we affirm that the true understanding of Islam necessitates that the forms and shapes of public interest shall take into account people’s reality. They should also consider the arrangement of the society’s urgent needs and necessities according to their top priority; that is to say that if the society is in dire and urgent need to build hospitals to provide treatment for the poor and care about them, then this should be given priority to any other form of public interest. Yet, in case the society is in dire need to build hospitals schools and institutes, to maintain them and to spend on students, then priority should be directed to that; otherwise it should be given to facilitating marriage of those who do not have its costs or to pay the debts of those indebted in case they top the agenda of the society’s needs.

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon the seal of all the Prophets and Messengers; I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family and his companions.

Muslim brothers,

Even when it has to do with good deeds, Islam has seriously considered the arrangement of priorities, to the extent that it instructs that public interest should be given precedence to the private or the personal one as far as preference among them is shown. That is because public interest’s benefit will cover the entire society, whereas that of the private interest does not exceed him to others. For example, if man, who works for a particular institution, spends his entire night offering prayers, then he went to work in the morning so tired that he was unable to fulfill the needs of his work and the interests of the institution are thus waned, he is considered a person who does not keep the trust and unlawfully receives his salary. That is because he, by doing so, has given precedence to the recommended acts of worship over the obligatory ones, which is unequivocally misunderstanding of the objectives of the religion. Amazingly enough, when Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was in his agony, he advised ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) saying, “Know that there are acts of worships dedicated for night, so they would not be accepted if performed in the day; that there are other acts that should be offered in the day, thus will not be accepted if done in the night; and that Allah will not accept the recommended acts of worship until the obligatory ones are done.”

The true understanding of the Religion of Allah (Most High), which goes in hand in hand with the reality of our time and considers people’s affairs requires that understanding should not be restricted to knowing some Fiqhi issues relevant to rulings by kind of memorization, without delving into the true understanding, or the ultimate objectives, or the priorities, or the reality or the already available procedures.

Drawing on this understanding of the objectives of this Purified Religion and in terms of the importance of arranging the priorities, we emphasize that fulfilling people’s needs should be given precedence to the repetition of pilgrimage and ‘Umrah, because alleviating hardship from a poverty-stricken person, giving out charity to the poor and meeting his needs, paying the debt of a prisoner to set him free are all collective duties; it is taken for granted that observance of collective duties are to be given priority to all recommended acts of worship including the repetition of pilgrimage and ‘Umrah.

We are actually in a dire need to correctly understand our religion and to be fully aware of our reality in a way that makes us realize the danger of risks around us, and that enables us to sincerely give precedence to the public interest over the personal one in fulfillment of the instructions of the Purified Religion and hoping for the realization of the progress and advancement of our country.

 

Hypocrisy and Betrayal And their Danger to Individuals and Countries

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “The hypocrites, both men and women, are all the same: they order what is wrong and forbid what is right; they are tight-fisted. They have ignored Allah, so He has ignored them. The hypocrites are the disobedient ones.’” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that our Master Prophet Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger; who said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite:  When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

There is no doubt that hypocrisy is a serious disease and a fatal problem that threatens individuals and nations. It is one of most serious inner diseases that destroys one’s faith and destroys its foundations. It is a serious social and moral scourge that threatens security, safety and stability of the society. Therfore, its danger is greater than the danger of disbelief and shirk, because it spreads, in one nation, it will dismantle it and shatter its unity.

In addition, the weapon of treason is a critical danger that threatens countires and their existence as seen throughout history. Nations that have been destroyed, torn or even disappeared have experienced this because of inner elements of traitors and agents who sold their nations. The dangers that threaten countries from inside are far greater and more serious than those from outside.

We should know, however, that hypocrisy is of two types: major and minor. The first is the major hypocrisy, which is the more dangerous. It is the hypocrisy in belief that is to show Islam and hide disbelief. A holder of this form of hypocrisy will be an eternal dweller in the Hellfire, and even will be in the lowest degree in it. The second type is the minor hypocrisy. This is the practical hypocrisy, which means the devition from good manners. It means to show righteousness and hide otherwise. This type does not bring one out of Islam in total. However, it is a path to the major  hypocrisy, if its holder does not stop it.

The Glorious Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah tell us about hypocrites and their descriptions, morals and intrigues. These matters have never changed over time, and nations. Among the most important signs of the hypocrites are:

          * Lying, breaking one’s promise, dishonesty, and being abusive in enmity. These are among the most henious qualities of hypocrites as described by the Prophet (PBUH) and they are practical manifestations of hypocrisy. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Four are the qualities which, when found in a person, make him a sheer hypocrite, and one who possesses one of them, possesses one characteristic of hypocrisy until he abandons it.  These are: When he is entrusted with something, he betrays trust; when he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he acts treacherously; and when he argues, he behaves in a very imprudent, insulting manner.”  Whoever meets these qualities, or one of them, becomes a hypocrite, and these qualities negatively affect the interests of the nation and destroy it.

It is often that we see hypocrites tell lies to decieve others, as Allah said, “There is [a kind of] man whose views on the life of this world may please you [Prophet], he even calls on God to witness what is in his heart, yet he is the bitterest of opponents.” When the Qur’an speaks about hypocrisy, deception, and dishonesty, it mentions this in connection with lying. Allah says, “They seek to deceive God and the believers but they only deceive themselves, though they do not realize it. There is a disease in their hearts, to which God has added more: agonizing torment awaits them for their persistent lying.” The Prophet (PBUH) has warned us againt lying, showing its consequences saying, “Be aware frim lying. Lying leads to transgression and transgression leads to the Hell-fire. A man continues to tell lies till he is recorded with Allah as a great liar.”  The Messenger of Allah once was asked, “Can a believer be a coward?” He said, “Yes.” He was asked, “Can he be a miser?” He said, “Yes.” He was asked, “Can he be a liar?” He said, “No.” Abu Bakr al-Siddiq described the lie as treason, saying: “Truthfulness is honesty and lying is dishonesty….)

In addition, betrayal and treason severe the bonds of love, incite hatred and leads to conflict, discord and corruption in dealings. The Prophet (PBUH) showed that treachery will incur regret on the Day of Judgment saying, “For every betrayer, a flag will be raised on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be announced (publicly) ‘This is the betrayal of so-and-so, the son of so-and-so.” He (PBUH) also said, “I will contend on the Day of Resurrection against three (types of) people: one who makes a covenant in My Name and then breaks it; one who sells a free man as a slave and devours his price; and one who hires a workman and having taken full work from him, does not pay him his wages.”

One of the most dangerous types of betrayal is to betray one’s homeland for a cheap price, as the case of radical groups and their followers.

Among the attributes that Islam has warned us from are: Abusiveness in enimitty. This is the source of every evilness, and the cause of deviation from the truth. Such a person who is abusive in his enitmy will trun the truth into falsehood and vise versa. Allah says, “There is [a kind of] man whose views on the life of this world may please you [Prophet], he even calls on God to witness what is in his heart, yet he is the bitterest of opponents.” The Prophet (PBUH)  said: “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person.”

The most accurate description of the people of hypocrisy is that they are double -faced people. Even in our time we can say they are multiple-faced people. they are the most ficious persons. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “You will find the worst among the people a double-faced person who appears to some people with one face and to others with another face.”

* Among the signs of hypocrisy is: Corruption in the land while claiming reformation: The Almighty Allah says, “When it is said to them, ‘Do not cause corruption in the land,’ they say, ‘We are only putting things right,’ but really they are causing corruption, though they do not realize it.” Corruption has many forms: To spread fear in land, to implant weakness in the hearts of the honest believers, to promote deviant ideas, misconceptions, and to spread sedition among people. The Almighty Allah says, “They would only have given you trouble if they had gone out [to battle] with you: they would have scurried around, trying to sow discord among you, and some of you would willingly have listened to them- God knows exactly who does evil.”  He, The Most High, also says, “They said to one another, ‘Do not go [to war] in this heat.’ Say, ‘Hellfire is hotter.’ If only they understood!”   and says, “God knows exactly who among you hinder others, who [secretly] say to their brothers, ‘Come and join us,’ who hardly ever come out to fight.”

The list of corruption also includes deprivation of people from their due and degrading them. Allah, the Almighty, says: “And do not deprive people of their due and do not commit abuse on earth, spreading corruption.” It also includes destruction, vandalism, killing the innocent, terrifying the safe and the secure, delaying the fulfillment of people’s needs, not shouldering the due responsibility, bribery, nepotism, and the unlawful consumption of people’s money.

Laziness in offering acts of worship; and if done, their observation is not sincerely for the sake of Allah but for showing off, especially in prayer, which is the most sublime act of worship. Allah, Most High, says: “Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little” and “And what prevents their expenditures from being accepted from them but that they have disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger and that they come not to prayer except while they are lazy and that they do not spend except while they are unwilling.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also said, “No prayer is more burdensome to the hypocrites than the Fajr (dawn) prayer and the ‘Isha’ (night) prayer; and if they knew their merits, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so.” Jaber ibn ‘Abd Allah also narrated that he (PBUH) said: “O people! Beware of the hidden polytheism!” The companions replied, “O Messenger of Allah! What is the hidden polytheism?” He (PBUH) replied, “The man observes his prayer in the best way ever because people watch him.”

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you.

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All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon the seal and last of all the Prophets and Messengers our master Muhammad (PBUH), his family and companions.

Muslim brothers,

One of the signs of hypocrisy is to ally with the enemies, with the aim of causing harm to one’s religion and country. This may take place through espionage, treachery, transforming news and information and unveiling the secrets of the country. That is to say that the hypocrite is a person who allies with the enemies of his country, causing harm thereby to the interests of his family, neighbors and relatives. Allah, Most High, says, “So you see those in whose hearts is disease hastening into [association with] them, saying, “We are afraid a misfortune may strike us.” But perhaps Allah will bring conquest or a decision from Him, and they will become, over what they have been concealing within themselves, regretful”; He, the Almighty, also says, “And indeed, there is among you he who lingers behind; and if disaster strikes you, he says, “Allah has favored me in that I was not present with them.” (72) But if bounty comes to you from Allah, he will surely say, as if there had never been between you and him any affection. “Oh, I wish I had been with them so I could have attained a great attainment.”

The hypocrite feels happiness if any evil befalls the country or its citizens; or in case a trail afflicts them; or a disease spread among them; or if they are overtaken by a disaster. Allah, the Almighty, says: “If good touches you, it distresses them; but if harm strikes you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and fear Allah, their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allah is encompassing of what they do.”

Yet, the new hypocrites have acquired new traits including lying, treachery, betrayal, breaking covenants and promises, stirring the public opinion, betraying religion, and the new kind of deception topped by the exploitation of religion to achieve the interests of those groups that want to exploit religion to reach positions of authority disguising in different forms of superficial and political religiousness, to the extent that they believe they are the only Muslims while others are not. They do so in order to provide legal coverage for their works. In addition to all of this, those new hypocrites are characterized with betraying the country, degrading it and selling it for a cheap price.

Allah, the Almighty, has promised to punish this kind of people, affirming that His Anger will befall them in His worldly life and the hereafter. Allah, the Almighty, says: “but the evil plot does not encompass except its own people.” He, Most High, even punished the greater hypocrisy with being hesitated, unstable and frightening. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allah leaves astray – never will you find for him a way.” He, Glorified is He, also says: “they think that every shout is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?” Not only that, but Allah has driven their hearts away from understanding His and His Messenger’s teachings, thus guidance will not penetrate into their hearts. He, the Almighty, says: “That is because they believed, and then they disbelieved; so their hearts were sealed over, and they do not understand.” As for their punishment in the hereafter, He, the Almighty, says: “And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment.” The first punishment is thus in this life while the second will be in the grave. As for the greater one, it will be in the hereafter when He, Most High, will gather the hypocrites with other wrong-doers in the Hell-fire. He, the Almighty, says: “Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together.” He, the Almighty, also says: “Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire – and never will you find for them a helper – (145) Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward.”

For the sake of protecting the country, its being, cohesion and safety, the watchful eyes of its sincere sons should be alert. Also, the efforts of all the noble people should be promoted to eradicate the treacherous, the spies and those who convey secrets to the criminal enemies; they should be disgraced before all people, so that they would be an admonition for anyone who thinks of following the path of treachery and betrayal, to protect our religion, country, honors, souls and our and our children’s future, as well as to please Allah and protect our country from being afflicted with such atrocities that afflicted those countries that neglected facing the treacherous and spies thinking this is an easy matter while it is not as shown clearly in the countries’ history.

Etiquettes, Society Public Rights and their Impact on the Development of the Society and Constructing its Civilization

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Say, ‘My Lord has guided me to a straight path, an upright religion, the faith of Abraham, a man of pure faith. He was not a polytheist.’” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger; who said, “My Lord has taught me good manners and He has taught me in the best way.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Islam has come with an integrated approach that regulates man’s relationship with his Lord, other people, and the whole universe. The Islamic Shari’ah is rich with many etiquettes and good manners that contribute to the progress and prosperity of the society. From these manners is: The etiquettes of seeking permission to enter a place. Islam has ordered us to seek a permission making this etiquette a means to protect people’s privacy, as  the Almighty Allah says, “Believers, do not enter other people’s houses until you have asked permission to do so and greeted those inside- that is best for you: perhaps you will bear this in mind.” The Prophet (PBUH) taught us the etiquettes of seeking permission, including starting with salutation and then mentioning your name. Once, a man asked the Prophet’s permission (to enter the house). When he was in the house, he said:  May I enter? The Prophet (PBUH) said to his servant: Go out to this (man) and teach him how to ask permission to enter the house, and say to him:  “Say:  Peace be upon you. May I enter?” The man heard it and said:  Peace be upon you! May I enter? The Prophet (PBUH) permitted him and he entered. Also, Jabir narrated that, “Once, I sought permission to enter upon the Prophet (PBUH), so he said: ‘Who is this?’ I said:  ‘Me.’ The Prophet replied, “Me, me!’It seemed that he disliked that.”

Also, from the ettiquetes of seeking permission is to lower one’s gaze and not to look inside the house. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Seeking permission to enter (somebody’s house) has been prescribed in order to restrain the eyes (from looking at something we are not supposed to look at).” Also, Sa’d Ibn Ubadah narrated that once he sought permission to enter a house while he was standing in front of the door, so the Prophet (PBUH) said to him “when you seek permission to enter a house, do not stand in front of the door.” It is reported that whenever the Prophet wanted to seek a permission to enter a house, he would not stand in front of the door. Rather, he would stand to the right of the left side.

Another moral that Islam urged us to have is: the etiquettes of streets and public places: Islam stated that there are etiquettes that must be followed in streets. The Prophet (PBuh) said, “Avoid sitting by the road side.” The people then said, “O Allah’s Messenger, we cannot do without those meeting places in which we converse.” So he (PBUH) said, “If you have to sit at all, then fulfil the road its due rights.” They asked, ‘What are the road’s due rights?’  He replied, “Keeping the eye downward (so that you may not stare at the women), refraining from doing harm to the other and exchanging mutual greetings, and commanding the good and forbidding the evil.”Also, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Faith has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah; and the least of which is the removal of harmful objects from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith.”

Thus, one who uses the road or public facilities, should not speak loudly, annoy others, laugh openly or throw rubbish in streets. Rather, he has to put rubbish in the specified places. Also, he should not busy the roads or harm the bystanders, either through verbal or actual harassment.

Also, from the good manners is cleanliness. Islam made cleanliness and purification of the body, clothes and places an integral part of its rulings, for being intrinsic human nature and civilizational values. This is why Islam urged people to adopt a number of good manners that keeps one’s appearance good and pleasing. Allah praised those to keep themselves clean saying, “God loves those who turn to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean.” Also, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Indeed Allah is good and he loves what is good; and He is clean and He loves cleanliness…” He (PBUH) also said, “Purity is half of faith…’  Once, He (PBUH) saw a dishevelled man whose hair was untidy. He said: Could this man not find something to tidy his hair? He saw another man wearing dirty clothes and said: Could this man not find something to wash his garments with.”

The Prophet (PBUH) also urged people to clean their teeth in order to keep a good smell of their mouths and not to harm others. He(PBUH) said, “Had I not thought it difficult for my followers, I would have commanded them to use the siwak (tooth-stick) before every Prayer.”

These manners also include the etiquettes of dialogue. Dialogue is one of the means of developing acquaintance with others and correcting concepts. Islam has opened the door to dialogue among all peopl as a way to reach the truth without and any restriction or coercion. However, such dialogue should be away from taunting others, mocking them, or despising them. The Almighty Allah said, “And argue with them in the best manner.” and said, “[Prophet], tell My servants to say what is best.”Also, the Prophet said, “A true believer does not taunt or curse or abuse or talk indecently.” Thus, dialogue should be based on objective and authentic foundations that take the current circumstances into consideration.

These manners also include: to ascertain the authenticity of any news. Allah said, “Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Deliberation comes from Allah and Haste comes from Satan.” In another Hadith he (PBUH) said, “Deliberation should be in everything except in the actions of the next world.” He also said, “It is an enough sin for a man to relate everything he hears.”  This includes to avoid narrating rumors or speaking about them, as this leads to promoting them.Allah said, “That you took it up with your tongues, and say with your mouths things you did not know [to be true], thinking it was trivial, but to God, it was very serious.” and The Prophet said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.”

Also, Lowering the Voice is one of the general etiquettes laid down by Islam. It means that man should not raise his voice beyond what is usual, especially in the presence of those who are of a higher position. The Quran records Luqman’s pieces of advice to his son, “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” Allah, the Almighty, also praises those who lower their voices, especially in the Prophet’s presence. He, the Almighty, says: “Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah – they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward.”

Guiding the Lost is also one of these etiquettes; it means guiding him to the right direction through description or sending someone to guide him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Beware of sitting on roads (ways).” The people said: “We have but them as sitting places.” Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “If you have to sit there, then observe the rights of the way”. They asked, “What are the rights of the way?” He (PBUH) said, “To lower your gaze (on seeing what is illegal to look at), and (removal of harmful objects), returning greetings, enjoining good, forbidding wrong and guiding the lost.”

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that our Master Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows his guidance to the Day of Judgment.

Muslim brothers:

There are other etiquettes and manners that Muslims should adhere to, including helping the needy which is considered as one of the most important and sublime acts in Islam. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you.” The Companions replied, “How can we bring forth all of these (numbers of) charity, O Messenger of Allah?” He (PBUH) said: “The doors to good are many, including glorification of Allah, praising Him, saying “Allah is Great”, saying “there is no god deserved to be worshipped but Allah”, enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, conveying the message to deaf, guiding the blind, (helping people to) meet their needs, exert your utmost with those in dire need, and give aid to the weak as far as you can; all of these are acts of charity for yourself.” (Sahih Ibn Hibban)

The list of these etiquettes and manners also include giving hand to the weak and those of special needs. It goes without saying that social integration achieves the interest of the rich more than that of the poor, as it established balance in life. This is supported by Imam ‘Ali’s (may Allah be pleased with him) statement, “Allah, the Almighty, assigned particular portions in the rich’s properties as the provision of the poor; so if the poor get hungry, this will be the result of the rich’s misery, and Allah will for sure hold them accountable for that.” In truth, this care means a lot since it is viewed as a due right for the poor on the society. Allah, the Almighty, is near to those people with broken hearts and shows mercy to those who are merciful to His slaves, which is why a Muslim should not belittle any good deed even if it is a good word. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Do not consider any act of goodness as being insignificant even if it is meeting your brother with a cheerful face” and “You gain no victory or livelihood except through (the blessings and invocations of) the poor amongst you”; for Allah helps the one who helps his brother.

The list further includes showing respect to the elder; a point which is realized through dignifying him and not to humiliate him, for his old age and precedence to Islam should be taken into account. The elder should, on the other hand, be merciful and compassionate to the young. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If a Muslim respects an old man, Allah will provide him with someone who shows respect to him when he gets old.” This actually shows how Islam is merciful, tolerant and just, to the extent that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated clearly that showing respect to the elder, memorizers of the Qur’an and fair rulers are different forms of glorifying Allah, the Almighty, “Glorifying Allah involves showing honor to a grey-haired Muslim and to one who can expound the Qur’an, but not to one who acts extravagantly regarding it, or turns away from it, and showing honor to a just ruler.” He (PBUH) also said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young, respect our elders, and command good and forbid evil”.

The correct understanding of the tolerance of Islam indicates that showing respect is not confined only to Muslims of old age, for it has been narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has given charity to a Jewish family. Also, ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz is reported to have written to his governor in Basra saying, “search for the old, weak and poor from among the people with whom we have covenants, and give them out from the Muslim House of Treasury what meets their needs.”

Society’s members shall take care of its general interests; this is one of the society’s due rights upon its members. If we take the issue of overpopulation as an example, we have to highlight two points: first: some people consider their financial ability only, not paying any attention to the material and educational ones, as well as all kinds of care. It is not also the individual ability of the member that shall be considered; rather it goes far beyond that to capabilities of countries that shoulder the responsibility of providing the services that cannot be provided by the individuals of the society, which means that the condition and capability of the State is one of the most important factors that should be taken into account as far as population is concerned. It is true that he deserves not to live that person who wants to live for the sake of himself alone. So, uncontrolled overpopulation exerts bad impact not only on the individuals or the family but also on those countries that do not consider the findings of science in addressing the problem of overpopulation.

Second: few but strong people are better than the many but weak people referred to by the Prophet (PBUH) as “the scum”. That is because the uncontrolled population may result in extraordinary conditions that in turn hinder some countries from providing the basics of health, education and infrastructure; it also leads us to look like the scum. In fact, a man with sound intellect realizes that the most essential point is relating to the how-know. At that point, we can clearly state that the few but strong people are one thousand times better than the many but weak ones.

That is because in case large numbers of people do not cause but weakness, ignorance, backwardness and which are but heavy burden on the state, it is but as d

The Spirit of Collective work…and Its Guiding Principles

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Say [Prophet], ‘Take action! Allah will see your actions- as will His Messenger and the believers- and then you will be returned to Him who knows what is seen and unseen, and He will tell you what you have been doing.”I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His votary and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

It never happened that a nation was built by speech and slogans. Rather, nations are built through knowledge, giving, and sacrifices. At the top of the means of building nations is the serious and dedicated work, as the Almighty says, “Say [Prophet], ‘Take action! God will see your actions- as will His Messenger and the believers- and then you will be returned to Him who knows what is seen and unseen, and He will tell you what you have been doing.” and as our Prophet (PBUH) said, “Allah likes when someone performs and action to perfect it.” Thus, both religiousmness and patriotism require us to work hard and exert serious effort for raising productivity,; our religion is the religion of earnest endeavour and perfection.

 If the individual is the key element to build a society, his real role will not be complete except through cooperation with the whole society. A person alone can accomplish some work, but to add his intellectual activities to his brothers’, and combine his work with that of others, the output will be much greater and more effective than individual work. This is why Islam has praised collective work and identified it a key foundation for the establishment of nations and civilizations. Collective work unifies efforts and makes use of collective energies to achieve the common iterest of the whole siciety. The Almight Allah says, “Help one another to do what is right and good; do not help one another towards sin and hostility.”

When we contemplate the Qur’an, we find that there are many verses calling to the collective work. For Example, when calling people to worship Him, the Almighty Allah says, “People, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, so that you may be mindful [of Him].”  Also, with regard to prayer, the most importnat rite of Islam, Allah says, “And Perform prayer” with the plural pattern of the verb “perfom”. Also, Allah says, “Believers, bow down, prostrate yourselves, worship your Lord, and do good so that you may succeed.”  Also, Allah addressed the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Content yourself with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening, seeking His approval, and do not let your eyes turn away from them out of desire for the attractions of this worldly life: do not yield to those whose hearts We have made heedless of Our Qur’an, those who follow their own low desires, those whose ways are unbridled.” Allah, The Exalted, also says, “Hold fast to God’s rope all together.”  In addition, Allah has warned us against disunity saying, “Obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not quarrel with one another, or you may lose heart and your spirit may desert you. Be steadfast: God is with the steadfast.”

There is no doubt that performing acts with such spirit of collective work will increase fraternity and strengthen the relations among individuals of the same society, and in such a way they come to materialize Allah’s saying, “This community of yours is one single community.” This is a menifestation of the saying of the Prophet when he said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” When a wise man wanted to teach his sons the importance of unity and that it is the cause of strength and to warn them against disunity which is the cause of weakness, he brought a bundle of sticks, and asked “Who can break this bundle?  They tried but failed. Then, he asked them to untie them and gave each one a stick, and they were able to break it easily.

The man said:

When united, sticks are too hard to break,

but when separated, they will be broken one by one

The Glorious Qur’an gave us many examples that encourage collective work and show its impact on achieving the great goals. Here is the Example of Prophet Ibraheem (PBUH) when Allah ordered him to build the Kabah.
Ibrahim said to his son Isma’il: ‘O Isma’il! Allah has given me an order.’ Isma’il said: ‘Do what your Lord has commanded you to do.’ Ibrahim asked: ‘Will you help me?’ Isma’il said: ‘I will help you.’ Ibrahim said: ‘Allah has ordered me to build a house of worship here. Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e., Ka’bah). Isma’il brought the stones and Ibrahim was building (the house).
The Qur’an reported this story sayin “As Abraham and Ishmael built up the foundations of the House [they prayed], ‘Our Lord, accept [this] from us. You are the All Hearing, the All Knowing.”

In Surat Al-Kahf, the Almighty Allah tells us about the just King Dhul Qarnayn when he passed by a group of a strange people. They asked him for his help, and he responded positively on the condition that they cooperate with him. They worked as one hand till they built such huge building that protected them from Gog and Magog. Allah says, “Then, when he reached a place between two mountain barriers, he found beside them a people who could barely understand him. They said, ‘Dhu ’l-Qarnayn, Gog and Magog are ruining this land. Will you build a barrier between them and us if we pay you a tribute?’ He answered, ‘The power my Lord has given me is better than any tribute, but if you lend me your strength, I will put up a fortification between you and them:  bring me lumps of iron!’ and then, when he had filled the gap between the two mountainsides [he said], ‘Work your bellows!’ and then, when he had made it glow like fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten metal to pour over it!’ Their enemies could not scale the barrier, nor could they pierce it.”

Prophet Moses (PBUH), Allah’s interlocutor, asked Allah, Most High, to support him with his brother Aaron (PBUH), so that he would sustain and back him in performing the mission assigned to him by Allah, the Ever Exalted. Referring to this fact, Allah, the Almighty, says: “[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance] (25) And ease for me my task (26) And untie the knot from my tongue (27) That they may understand my speech. (28) And appoint for me a minister from my family – (29) Aaron, my brother. (30) Increase through him my strength (31) And let him share my task (32) That we may exalt You much (33) And remember You much. (34) Indeed, You are of us Ever Seeing.”

Also, whoever carefully examines the Biography of the Prophet (PBUH) would discover that the life of the Prophet (PBUH) witnessed brilliant chapters of cooperation, participation and collective work between him and his companions. In this regard, ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (Allah be pleased with him) said: “We have accompanied the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in his journeys and at home; and he used to support us with the little and the much.”

The Prophet (PBUH) furthermore used to help them in work and buildings, and used to urge them to gather together and to divide. About the battle of Al-Khandaq(i.e. the Trench), Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘Azeb (Allah be pleased with him) said: “I saw the Prophet (PBUH) carrying dust with us on the Day of the Battle of Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) and I saw that the dust was covering the whiteness of his Abdomen, and he (the Prophet (PBUH) ) was saying, “(O Allah)! Without You, we would not have been guided, nor would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So (O Allah!) please send tranquility (Sakina) upon us as they, (the chiefs of the enemy tribes) have rebelled against us. And if they intend affliction (i.e. want to frighten us and fight against us) then we would not (flee but withstand them). And the Prophet (PBUH) used to raise his voice with it.”

Also, when our Master Salman Al-Farisi (Allah be pleased with him) wanted to plant three hundred palm tree to set himself from slavery, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to the companions: “Help your brother.” Salman said, “They helped me with palm trees; the man would bring thirty palm trees; another would bring twenty; a third would bring fifteen; and the others brought according to their ability until I collected the three hundred palm trees. Then, the Prophet (PBUH) ordered me to dig for them, and said, ‘When you finished, come to me so that I would plant them myself.’ Salman continued, “I dug for them and my companions aided me; when we finished, I went to him (PBUH) and told him upon which he (PBUH) went with me; and we started to set the trees to him and he used to plant them with his hand.”

In this connection, he (PBUH) praised Al-Ash‘ariyin for their spirit of collective work that prevailed most of their behaviors and actions even in the most difficult situations; he (PBUH) said about them, “When the people of Ash‘ari tribe ran short of food during the holy battles, or the food of their families in Medina ran short, they would collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally by measuring it with a bowl. So, these people are from me, and I am from them.”

With that said, and I ask Allah to forgive me and you

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god deserved to be worshipped but Allah; and I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows their guidance to the Day of Judgment.

Muslim brothers:

Collective work that we are aspiring to is that one that builds, not destroys, and that gathers, not divides. It is that work that is based on legal foundations like solidarity between the members of the society in a way that won’t make us see any hungry or needy persons in the society; it is that work that is based on educational foundations like scientists’ cooperation with each other in their scientific research, or like students’ cooperation in their academic and scholarly achievements; it is that kind of work based on national foundations like working for achieving the progress of the country in all fields.

It is not that kind of work that is based on destructive calls that call for killing, destruction, blood-shedding, and destruction of countries and the attempts to weaken them or make them collapse; these calls that are based on lying, defamation and forging the truth, and that don’t consider religion, or a country or conscience.

The collective work we are aspiring to is the constructive work that is for the benefit of religion, country and humanity- these integrated items that cannot dispense with one another. We are actually in a dire need to entrench this spirit in the minds of our children and to turn it into a way of life according to which they should act, so that love and harmony would prevail among the members of the one society, and our nation would achieve the highest ranks on all levels. We affirm meanwhile that when the spirit of collective work prevails among the Egyptians, they could turn what others view impossible a reality.

O Allah! Make us secure in our countries, guide our rulers (to the right), and protect our countries from the treachery of the treacherous and the corruption of the corrupt!