Too often we hear how a city is so nice to live in, but “if only its Muslim community was more united.” Many of the main problems Muslims face today are: racism, prejudice, sexism, backbiting, rumors, and other diseases that cause communities to be disunited.
How can we save our communities? The Quran always has answers to our problems. What can our community learn from God’s book to be strong and united as one?
These four verses in Surah Al Hujurat explain how, individually, we each can help unite the Muslim community.
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“The believers are a single brotherhood, so make reconciliation between your brothers, and be mindful of God so you can receive mercy.”
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن
يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
“O you who believe! Don’t let some men among you make fun of other men, for it may be that the (ones who are being made fun of) are better than the (ones making fun of them). And don’t let some women among you make fun of other women, either, for it may be that the (ones who are being made fun of) are better than the (ones making fun of them). Don’t damage each other’s reputations nor be sarcastic with each other, and don’t call each other by cruel nicknames. It’s terrible to use an insulting nickname for someone after he’s become a believer. Whoever doesn’t stop this practice is doing wrong.”
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O you who believe! Avoid being overly suspicious (of your fellow believers) for suspicion in some cases is a sin. Don’t spy on each other nor speak badly about each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? In fact, you would loath it! Be mindful of God, for God accepts repentance and is Merciful.”
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
“O people! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into different races and tribes so you can come to know one another. The noblest among you in the sight of God is the one who is the most mindful (of his duty to Him). Truly, God knows and is aware.”
These verses were revealed during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions, so what does this mean? That although their time represents the epitome of Islam and unity, they also had similar problems. No community will ever be perfect, but it can strive to be.
In these verses, God gives a list of rules to live by in our every day interactions; things we should do and things we should not do. In the end of these verses, He says, “and be mindful of God.” We should obey Him if we want to achieve mercy and unity within our communities, ourfamilies, and ourselves. As He concludes these rules to live by and after telling us we were created differently, He says, “Verily the most noble of you is the most mindful.” So how can we be mindful? By following the steps He gave us in these four verses. No one is favored because of the color of their skin or the gender of their body. God only favors you when you follow Him in the best of ways, and that means dealing with your fellow brothers and sisters in humanity in the best of ways.
Moreover, these verses address almost every major problem our communities have today: backbiting, spreading rumors, name-calling, making fun of others, suspicion, sexism, and racism. You see every single one of these important issues being addressed in these verses. Imagine if every one of our communities didn’t have any of these issues; What kind of communities would we have? Our unity and brotherhood / sisterhood would take a drastic turn forward.
You may read these verses and say, “If only my community could put these verses into practice,” but that’s not where change will come from. Change will come when every single one of us individually struggles to practice these verses and implement them in our daily lives. These verses don’t automatically become a societal struggle. They must first start as an individual endeavor.
Some of these habits are quite basic, yet because they occur so frequently, they have become destructive to our communities. When did it become okay to talk behind each other’s backs and spread news that was never verified from its source? This “he said she said” deal has become much too common. This statement of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is what we each need to master individually: “It is enough for a man to be considered a liar when he narrates whatever he hears” (Sahih Muslim). How many times have you heard others speaking about things of which they have no knowledge? We have all into this trap, but we must end it today.
The Quran teaches us how to live our lives in the best of ways. It gives us the tools we need to become the best of communities. Yet it is up to us to put those tools into practice and embark on the path of true brotherhood and sisterhood together.
The next time your tongue is about to fool you, stop right there and let these verses echo through your mind. Remind your brothers and sisters in Islam that Islam teaches us to respect each other and only speak the best of words. If you do not have anything good to say, then say nothing at all. If we can master and nail these verses on our own and within our families, then our communities will slowly but surely become more of what we want them to be.
May Allah allow these verses to trigger through our minds and create the necessary change we need to become true brothers and sisters in this beautiful way of life, Islam. Ameen
Samia Mubarak is Layali’s Deen & Spirituality blogger. She is from Panama City, Fla. and currently resides in Charlotte, N.C. She has a bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication with a minor in Psychology from Florida State University. She recently completed the memorization of the Quran and writes personal Quranic Reflections on her blog www.myquranicreflections.blogspot.com. She is a wife, and mother of one.