COLLECTIVE WORK FOR ISLAM
By The Tarbiyah Department
The work for Islam, in essence, is the reaction of Muslims, both individuals and communities, towards the teachings, requirements and objectives of the Divinely ordained way of life: Islam. This way of life can become a reality in the life of individuals and nations only through sincere, perseverant and diligent work.
The Prophet (PBUH) has given us a unique example of persistent work and sacrifice for the cause of Allah.
The work for Islam has specific objectives on individual, community and state levels. It aims at producing the Muslim individual who exemplifies the faith and moral teachings of Islam; the Muslim community which adopts Islam as a way of life; and the Islamic state which rules its subjects by Islamic Shari’ah and propagates the message to other states. Such work is an obligation upon all Muslims and will remain so until the Islamic system has been established. Until then, anyone who refuses to work for this purpose is considered iniquitous.
The necessity of the work for Islam could be clearly seen from various standpoints.
First, it is the command of Allah to all messengers, prophets and believers until the end of this world. Allah (SWT) says what could be translated as: “O Apostle! Proclaim what has been sent to you from your Lord. If you did not, you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission” (5:67)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Anyone of you who observes something evil should reverse it with his hand; if he is unable to do that he should condemn it with his tongue; if he is unable to do that he should at least resent it with his heart; this is the lowest degree of faith” (Muslim).
Second, the establishment of a Muslim Ummah, which derives all its morals and injunctions from Islam, is an obligation; Allah (SWT) says: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith until they make you (O Prophet) judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decision, but accept them with the fullest conviction” (4:65)
Since such community does not currently exist, the work for its establishment is an obligation, based on the general rule of Shari’ah that states: “Whatever is necessary to perform an obligation is, in turn, an obligation”.
Third, the work for founding the Islamic system is indispensable in order to face the challenges of the present time and stop the waves of materialism and atheism which are constantly trying to overwhelm the Muslim world.
Now that we have clearly shown the necessity of work for Islam, we ask the question: Should such work be individual or collective? The following is an attempt to answer this question.
Collective Work In The Opinion Of Early Muslims:
It may be amazing to some to know that the early Muslim scholars addressed the issue of the formation of Jama’ahs for legitimate causes. Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy on him, explains the word “Za’eem” mentioned in Surat Yusuf, saying: “A Za’eem is a person who sponsors or supports a certain party or group of people”, he also wrote: “As for the head of the `Hizb’ (party), he is one that leads a group of people who gather together. If their gathering is based on the commands of Allah and His Apostle, it is considered legitimate. If, on the other hand, their gathering involves matters that are in contradiction with the Shari’ah, such as supporting one another both in truth and in falsehood, their gathering should be condemned. Allah and His Apostle command unity and forbid division; yet they command cooperation for righteousness and piety and not for evil and transgression.”
Ibn Al Qayyem, may Allah have mercy on him, interpreting the verse “Say: This is my way, I invite to Allah on evidence as clear as the seeing with one’s eye, I and whoever follows me” (12:108)
Says (O Mohammad), “I, as well as anyone who follows me, invite to Allah.”
It is known that some of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) formed Jama’ahs to enjoin right and forbid wrong, such as Hisham ibn Hakeem ibn Hizam, may Allah be pleased with him.
In The Opinion Of Contemporary Da’iahs:
Sayyed Qutb, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote: “The starting point now should be the same starting point of Islam during the early days of Da’wah; a group of people believing in the Deen of Truth ought to exist on a piece of land; they should believe and declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (PBUH) is His messenger; consequently, they should believe that the right to legislate belongs solely to Allah; they should implement their beliefs in all aspects of their life; then they should proceed with a declaration of freedom for all mankind. There has to be a leading group which has that determination to proceed on the road.”
Imam Maududi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “The establishment of a righteous leadership on the earth is of utmost importance from an Islamic standpoint. Anyone who believes in Allah and His Messenger and the Deen of Truth has no choice but to shape his life in the “mould” of Islam. If this is not possible without the collective efforts, then there has to exist on earth a righteous Jama’ah whose goal should be to establish the Islamic system on earth, and should do its best in this connection.”
Sayyed Qutb wrote in “In the Shade of the Qur’an”: “And since the Jahiliyyah is not represented by a theory but by a live congregation, the attempt to destroy that Jahiliyyah and bring people back to Allah should not be made through theories but through an equally strong, and better a stronger, congregation.”
Rationales For Collective Work For Islam:
1. Islam commands us to work together for righteousness and piety. Allah (swt) said: “Help you one another virtue, righteosness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression”. (Al-Ma’ida 2)
The work for establishing the islamic system is the highest act of righteousness and therefore requires collective action.
2. Islam commands us to form a group for da’wah. Allah (swt) said: “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining Al-ma’ruf and forbidding Al-munkar. And it is they who are the successful”. (Al-Imran 104)
3. An islamic rule states that “Whatever is required to make possible the performance of an obligation is, itself, an obligation”. And since the implementation of Islamic Shari’ah is obligatory and collective work is necessary for that task, then the collective work for the establishment of the Shar’ah is obligatory.
4. Individual efforts, sincere and strong as they might be, cannot achieve the goal; such efforts are limited, temporary and most frequently antagonizing one another. Collective work could harmonize these efforts thus getting the best out of them.
5. The people of falsehood work in groups, parties and blocs; so it is not reasonable to attempt to face such concerted efforts with individual efforts.
6. From the very beginning of the Makkan period, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) started the foundation of a Jama’ah in order to face the Jahiliyyah of that time; he was by no means confined to individual work. He formed the first Islamic Jama’ah whose members he carefully selected.
Elements of Collective Work:
The elements necessary for any movement to succeed are summarized in three sentences:
1. A determined trustworthy leadership.
2. Believing followers or individuals who follow that leadership, and
3. A system that governs the relationship between the leadership and the individuals, the goals to be achieved and the means of achieving these goals.
Our last supplication is “All the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the worlds”.