Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mutual Support

Mutual support is an inclusive description of many forms of co-operation, solidarity and contribution toward filling the gaps. It is demonstrated by offering help, protection and consolation, until the needs of the distressed are met, the grief of the mourners is removed and the wounds of the injured are healed. It is only when selfishness prevails, the sentiment of brotherhood dies and people become wrapped in their own concerns and personal affairs, that mutual support disappears.

A good example of solidarity was shown by Banu Hashim; the Muslims and non-Muslims among them, all stood together with the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and prevented the Quraysh from killing him. They gave him safe passage to the mountain pass of Abu Talib's clan, where he was besieged by the rest of the Arabs, who had drafted a pact that they later hung on the Ka'bah, declaring their boycott of him and the Muslims. However, despite their ignorance of Islam, some men of the Quraysh, in the spirit of mutual support, denounced the blockade and remained agitated until the unjust agreement was annulled.

Today, we witness solidarity in all its forms among the people of falsehood, in addition to sympathy for Muslims from some parties that are driven by humanitarian, nationalistic or political concerns. Is this not an extra incentive for us to express our oneness with our own Muslim brothers and sisters?

After all, mutual support can never fail anyone. This is what Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her, believed in; when she wanted to alleviate the fear of the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, after he had received the revelation for the first time, she reminded him of his sense of brotherhood that he had been known for all his life, saying: "Never, by Allah, will He ever fail you. You maintain the ties of kinship, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving afflicted ones." [Al-Bukhari]

Those Most Worthy of Mutual Support

A migrant is the worthiest of mutual support, because he or she is away from his or her homeland and people, and is financially constrained. The Ansar (supporters) of the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, were a paragon of brotherhood. Some of them asked the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, to divide their gardens of palm trees between them and the Muhajirun (emigrants). The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, refused, so they suggested, "[The emigrants] may do the physical work [in our gardens] and we will share the fruit with you [at least]." [Al-Bukhari] Thus, some Muhajirun did actually do this, thereby solving the crisis of unemployment and poverty.

Another model of their mutual support, was the Ansar bequeathing their property to their brothers from the Muhajirun, and not their relatives; this was due to the bonds of brotherhood that the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, had established among them. [Al-Bukhari] This ruling was later abrogated. Yet, undoubtedly, that was an era of pure souls and utter devotion to Allah The Almighty. It proves that the more the feelings of brotherhood and altruism intensify, and selfishness and egoism are uprooted, the more mutual support flourishes, appearing in its best forms.

Forms of Mutual Support

1. Settling debts: One of the most distinct forms of communal cohesion among Muslims, is helping the indebted person repay his or her debt. After the Muslim army's conquests, when there was a surplus in the treasury of the Muslim state, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "I am closer to the believers than their own selves; whoever passes away from among them, leaving behind a debt, I will be responsible for its repayment." [Al-Bukhari]

2. Emancipation of slaves: Helping slaves obtain their freedom is another type of providing support. For example, Bareerah asked 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with them, to help liberate her from slavery. She, may Allah be pleased with her, consented and said to her: "If your masters agree, I will offer them the monetary price of your emancipation, and free you from bondage." [Ahmad]

3. Paying Diyah (blood money): Mutual support is also demonstrated by assisting in the payment of the compensation to a murdered person's family. The murderer's well-off paternal kinsmen and closest relatives should pay off the Diyah due on him, as he or she may not be able to afford it or will not have anything left if he or she does pay. However, if the paternal relations can or do not offer up the blood money or the convict does not have any relatives, then, for the greater good of the solidarity of the community, the settlement is to be paid out of the Muslim state's treasury.

4. Releasing prisoners of war: Another great form of societal support is to pay the price of freeing a Muslim captive. Salamah ibn Al-Akwa' invaded Hawazin with Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them; the latter presented to the former a very beautiful slave-girl from Banu Fazarah. When the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, met Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him, in Madeenah, he said: "May Allah bless your father! Give me that girl." He immediately handed her over to the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, who ransomed with her many Muslim captives in Makkah. [Ibn Maajah] Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest examples of altruism and self-sacrifice on the part of Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him.

On another occasion, when Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, arrived at Khaybar with a group of his people, after it had been conquered, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, persuaded the Muslims to share their war booties with them. [Ahmad] Indeed, if the souls do not willingly forego such trivial things, they will certainly fail to sacrifice in fields where that is required, such as during battles and dangerous zones.

It was also narrated that 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would say: "I prefer setting one Muslim free from a disbelievers' prison, to having power over the entire Arabian Peninsula."

5. Taking care of widows and orphans: When the mandate of Jihaad (struggle or fighting) results in widows, orphans and disabled persons, ignoring them after their guardians have laid down their lives in the cause of Allah The Almighty, surely does not smack of loyalty. Hence, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The person who looks after the widow or the needy, is like the one who struggles in the way of Allah, or the person who prays all night long and fasts all day long." [Al-Bukhari] He, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, also promised the sponsor of an orphan, his companionship in Paradise.

Emotional support

The psychological aspect of support must also not be overlooked; the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, broadly referred to it when he said: "A man who alleviates the suffering of a believer in this world, Allah will alleviate his suffering on the Day of Resurrection." [Muslim]

Moreover, he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would ask after his Companions, if he did not see them for a while, and talk about their problems. There are many examples of this in the Sunnah; Salman Al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him, was an enslaved man; so, when a piece of gold the size of a chicken's egg was brought to the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, as part of the spoils of war, remembering that Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, still needed money to pay for his emancipation, he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, asked: "What did the Persian [man] do with his emancipation contract?" He sent a man to bring Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, and when he arrived, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "O Salman, take this [piece of gold] and pay for your contract of release." [Ahmad] Salman, may Allah be pleased with him, relates: "I paid them [i.e., my masters] the money and was freed. I then participated in the battle of Al-Khandaq (the trench) with the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and never missed any expedition with him." Indeed, a preacher to Islam wins the hearts and minds of his people when they observe his consideration of them, taking care of their affairs and guidance of them to goodness.

Emotional support incorporates inquiring about the welfare of one's brother or sister, ensuring he or she is fine and comforting him or her. When the Quranic verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not} [Quran 49:2], was revealed, it is narrated that Thabit ibn Qays Ash-Shammas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "It is I [who is addressed]; I used to raise my voice above the Prophet's, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam. My deeds are worthless and I am destined for Hell!" He confined himself to his house in grief. The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, later asked after him; hence, some of the Companions went to him and said: "What is the matter with you? The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, has asked about you." They then informed him that the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said about him: "No; [what he is thinking is not true as] he is a dweller of Paradise." [Ahmad]

Such etiquettes let everyone receive proper attention from their mentor, making them all feel appreciated.

What is even more noble than the offer of mutual support, is when it is accepted in a measured manner by the needy; this was evident when 'Abdur-Rahmaan ibn 'Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, refused to share in the possessions and wives of his brother from the Ansar, who was presenting all that to him. Instead, he, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "May Allah The Almighty bless your wives and wealth. Where is your market?" [Al-Bukhari]

Thus, he asked him to show him where the bazaar was, so he could work with his own hands and become financially independent. This became a general trend for the Muhajirun, for, when they became rich after the battle of Khaybar, they reimbursed the Ansar for their earlier support. It was narrated that "when the fight with the people of Khaybar was over, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, returned to Madeenah. Thereafter, the Muhajirun gave back the crops the Ansar had given them." [Al-Bukhari]

A society where mutual support prevails is an integrated society, that is capable of fighting in the cause of Allah The Almighty, united in a row, as if it is made up of a solid structure. On the other hand, a society where selfishness and niggardliness are dominant, has a fragile formation that is eaten away by internal feuds and grudges, rather than by the enemies' wars.

Hence, which of the two societies are we going to choose to have and which morals will we adopt?

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