Enjoined by Unity and Faith: The Power of Community in Islam

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“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.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

From the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to today, community has always been an integral aspect of Islam. In our rituals, our values and all aspects of our lives, connecting with and doing good to one another is an important part of our faith. 

The importance of this unity and kindness remains the same as it does when the Prophet (PBUH) taught his beloved companions to love one another and to be vigilant in caring for each other and their community. Even when they lived in danger from the Quraysh or were exiled from their home in Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions were always able to seek solace in each other and their shared devotion to Allah (SWT). In turn, when asked why the Prophet loved his first wife, Khadija (RA) so much, he responded, “She believed in me when no one else did.” 

This is all to say community is held in very high regard in Islam. With how far it goes towards our emotional, mental and spiritual wellness, it is something we all should prioritise in our lives as we observe how the value of community is upheld in our Muslim communities – then and now. 

The Importance of Community in our Acts of Worship 

As one of the pillars of Islam, performing prayer (salah) is a crucial act of worship for all Muslims. An act of worship where we share a deeply personal conversation with our Creator, it is also especially beloved to Allah (SWT) when we pray in congregation. When we pray in congregation, we all line up facing the same direction, shoulder to shoulder, facing our Creator. In this action, no matter where we come from or what position we hold in society, we are all equally enjoined in our faith and devotion to Allah (SWT) in this beautiful act of worship. 

In addition to our five daily prayers, most of our rituals within Islam are done in congregation. Jumuah prayer, Eid prayer, listening to sermons, visiting the sick, breaking our fast, embarking on Hajj or Umrah, marriage and so much more, Islam brings us together for every single milestone in our lives. 

Allah (SWT) created us as beings who thrive on being social and positively interacting with one another. It is innate to us to care for one another and do what we can to collectively uplift each other. One of the first things the Prophet (PBUH) did when moving to Madinah from Makkah was to build a masjid as the centre for the community. A welcoming place where everyone could come and gather, learn from one another, share stories and engage in acts of worship together – all for the sake of Allah (SWT). 

The Importance of Unity and Kindness in Community 

As a leader, the Prophet (PBUH) emphasised the importance of showing respect for all and having noble manners with each other, especially towards members of our community – both new and old. This is emphasised through this hadith, where the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts support each other.” (Bukhari) 

A wonderful example of how the essence of this hadith and the value of community was realised was when the Muslims migrated from Makkah and moved to live in Madinah. When they arrived, the Ansar (the people of Madinah) welcomed the Muhajiroon (the migrants who came from Makkah) with open arms and, at the encouragement of the Prophet (PBUH), shared their homes, money and lives. 

Even when they had little to give, the Ansar did their best to help the Muhajiroon settle into the community and support them during their time of need. In turn, the Muhajiroon did their best to be active and responsible citizens of their new community and contributed in any way they could. In this heartfelt display of community, we can see that there are many ways we can show our appreciation for community and how important unity and kindness is in upholding it. In turn, providing support for your community doesn’t have to be something grand, it can be as simple as sharing kind and caring conversations to volunteer work to hosting friends to much more. 

The power of community starts in the home and extends to your family, your neighbours, your place of worship and your society. We, as an Ummah, come from all walks of life. But, despite our differences in culture and language, we all share a great love of our faith. We share a great bond by enjoining what is good, caring for those in need and bringing love and joy to each other. This is what it means to be a part of a community in Islam, and it’s our duty to uphold it.

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