Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
17 January 2020 / 21 Jamadilawal 1441H
The Spirit of Togetherness in a Believer
Blessed Friday congregation,
Let us increase our taqwa of Allah s.w.t., where taqwa is the foundation in our lives, upon which we tread the path to the eternal afterlife. We observe taqwa by performing all His commands and abstaining from all His prohibitions. May Allah s.w.t. grant us a strong sense of humanity that emphasises goodness and shuns evil. Amin.
For the past two weeks, the sermons have reminded us on the importance of a strong faith and in strengthening our knowledge. These have been the main steps taken by Rasulullah s.a.w. in bringing humankind from darkness and ignorance, to the path of truth and excellence in life.
Success and excellence do not come on their own. The Prophets, Messengers and the subsequent generations have laid the foundations for people to maximize their various potentials and to support one another. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah At-Taubah, Verse 122:
Which means: “Yet it is not [right] for all the believers to go forth together: out of each community, a group should go out to gain understanding of the religion, so that they can teach their people when they return and so that they can guard themselves (against evil)”.
This verse shows that success is not merely focused on just completing a task. It encompasses all forms of goodness that eventually benefits humankind. This is the spirit of togetherness that is enjoined in Islam, so that each of us, believers, can play our roles in complementing one another and overcoming each other’s weaknesses.
In his book al-Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun explains that the spirit of togetherness is to care for one another, help one another, enjoin cooperation and mutual respect, live in moderation, holding on to the norms of the community and the leadership, having the courage to stand up for the truth, sacrificing for the family and the land, and overcoming sentiments of self-centredness and individualism.
The spirit of togetherness and cooperation can render many benefits to people’s lives. For instance, our children can achieve success in their studies through the support and cooperation of various parties, such as the support from the family in giving the child the opportunity and space to learn, the support of the teachers in giving sound guidance to the student, as well as the support from other individuals who together contribute in terms of providing motivation, financial support, and others. As the saying goes “It takes a whole village to raise a child”.
We also have a role to play in supporting and taking care of our elders. Those who need our assistance may be part of the congregants of our mosque, people whom we know, or our own family members. They may need our help financially, or in going to the mosque, hospital and others. These are opportunities for us to work together in taking care of our elders, for them to stay active and live a positive life. This is part of Rasulullah’s advice towards us in constantly supporting and being aware of others. This is because, believers are like one body, when one part of the body feels hurt, the other parts of our body will feel it too. Our Prophet s.a.w. once said:
Which means: “The similitude of believers in their mutual kindness compassion, and sympathy are like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever” (Hadis narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Such motivation and support should constantly be carried out by all of us. It symbolizes our efforts at doing good collectively for the benefit of all.
We are constantly reminded to perform good deeds and do good together. We will all return to Allah s.w.t. and will be given retribution in accordance with our deeds. Do not feel complacent with the good deeds that we have done. While we are still given the opportunity to live, let us strive to commemorate the spirit of togetherness and rahmah for all.
We can sustain this life by enslaving ourselves to Allah s.w.t. through our good deeds. Our good deeds should not only come in the form of rituals or monetary contributions; they ought to also come in the form of virtues, good conduct and character that brings happiness to others and the community.
The spirit of togetherness and cooperation in doing good are reflective of a believer’s noble character. Let us inculcate the spirit of concern and rahmah for the community around us so that the assistance we render is suited to their needs. Let us together cultivate the spirit of rahmah, love and helping one another among ourselves. Know that our contribution will not be felt by only the individuals or families we are helping. When those whom we helped contribute back to the community, it will produce a far-reaching impact on everyone and uplift the lives of the community.
We hope that Allah will instill in us noble virtues and protect us from vice. May we be among His virtuous servants and may we be granted His mercy. Amin, ya Rabbal ‘Aalamiin.