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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Society (The Evils of Isolation)


(The Evils of Isolation)

by Salim Morgan

KNOW that among both the worldly and the
spiritual objectives of Islam are issues which rely on mutual aid and assistance
among Muslims and that cannot come about except via"society" (social mixing)
and the intermingling of Muslims with one another.


In fact, our very survival as Muslims and
our protection from our avowed enemy Iblis depends on our holding fast
to the society of Muslims and avoiding isolation and separation. Allah's
Messenger (sas) warned us about this.

"Verily Ash-Shaitaan is the wolf of mankind
like the wolf of [who preys on] sheep. He takes distant one who wanders
to one side. So beware of the canyons and hold fast to the group, the masses
and the masjid."

Shaitaan the accursed is well aware of
this weakness and sends constant expeditions against mankind to separate
and divide them from one another in every way he can. The Prophet (sas)

"Iblis places his throne upon the water
and then sends out his expeditions. The closest of them to him are those
who create the most strife (fitnah). One of them will return and say, 'I
did such-and-such' and he will say, 'You have done nothing'. Then one of
them will come and say, 'I did not leave him alone until I created division
between him and his wife.' He brings this one close and says, 'You are
the best'."

Staying together and connected as Muslims
is essential to our well-being and the way to it is adherence to the good
character and good interaction as exemplified in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. 
The Prophet (sas) said:

"Whoever did not show thankfulness for
a little will not show it for a lot. And whoever did not thank people will
not thank Allah. Conversing about the favors of Allah is gratitude and
turning away from it is disbelief. The collective is mercy and isolation
is punishment."

After reading the above, use it to understand
Allah's statement:

{By the night as it covers over (1) By
the day as it manifests clearly (2) By the One who created male and female
(3) Verily your strivings are varied (4) As for the one who gives and fears
Allah (5) And acknowledges the best (6) So we will make way easy to ease.
(7) But as for the one who is miserly and feels free of need [for others]
(8) And belies the best (9) So we will make easy his way to hardship (10)}

Allah describes here those who GIVE, FEAR
ALLAH and ACKNOWLEDGE THE BEST. It is narrated here that "the best" is
Paradise or all of the favors of Allah upon us in general. So, the one
who is grateful to Allah for his favors is also among those who fear Allah
and among those who "give", which means they give help and/or things to
others - which by definition means that they are not isolated and cut off
from others..

On the contrary, the other group is described
as being miserly, i.e., not wanting to help others with what Allah has
given them. Allah says about them "istaghnaa" which means that they feel
no need for others. In other words, in their evil and miserly hearts, they
would not help others except only as they felt that THEY may need something
from those others instead of seeking the pleasure and reward of Allah in
that help or that giving. This is so normal in our times that it is not
even considered the exception!

This feeling of "istighnaa" (lack of need
for others) is the fundamental ignorance which underlies all miserliness
and selfishness. The slave of Allah realizes always his profound poverty
and need before Allah no matter what he seems to possess at the moment.
So, as the hadith says, this one shows no gratitude neither to Allah nor
to other Muslims.

There are many benefits from mingling and
staying connected to the Muslims. Among them are teaching and learning,
helping and receiving help, learning and exemplifying manners (adab), the
pleasure of one another's company, getting thawaab (reward) for maintaining
the rights of others, learning humility, gaining experience and insight
from these experiences and larning from them. These are some of the many
benefits of the society of Muslims and our holding fast to one another
and not separating ourselves.

Teaching and Learning

If one isolates himself before learning
much about Islam such that he knows all of his obligations toward Allah
and toward others, there is no good in his isolation. Ar-Rabee' ibn Khaytham
said: "Gain knowledge before isolating yourself (for worship). Knowledge
is the foundation of the deen and there is no good in the isolated worship
of the common folk."

On the other hand, if one isolates himself
after learning Islam for the purpose of worship, this may be of benefit
to him personally, but will be a harm to the Muslims at large who are in
desparate need of the knowledge which he has acquired. So, his obligation
to benefit others with that knowledge does not leave room for him to isolate
himself from the Muslims even if there might be some benefit in that for
him. Since imparting this knowledge is fardh kifaya, the previous statement
is more true when knowledge and its people are relatively scarce.

There is great reward in teaching others
when the intention is righteous and sound. If however, one does so out
of desire for reputation and to have a large number of followers, that
will be his destruction in his deen.

Economic Benefits, etc.

Muslims have needs to receive benefits
from one another such as employment, physical help, etc. and to give that
help to one another. In a Muslim society, there is a need to intermingle
and be connected so that these needs may be discovered and fulfilled. In
a mixed or Muslim-minority situation it becomes even more critical since
giving and receiving such benefits exclusively with the disbelievers introduces
all kinds of corruption into the Muslims.

One who had needs has no choice but to
be connected to the Muslim society to seek the fulfillment of those needs.
One who has some ability to benefit others in this way should not choose
isolation over connection as this will leave unmet needs among the Muslims.
There is a great reward for involving oneself in the needs of others and
this should never be neglected for extraogatory acts of worship. 
The Prophet (sas) said:

"Every Muslim is the brother of every other
Muslim. He does not oppress him nor turn him over [to his enemy]. Allah
is occupied with the needs of one who is occupied with the needs of his
brother. Whoever relieves a Muslim of some hardship, Allah will relieve
him of one of the hardships of Qiyama. Whoever conceals [the fault of]
another Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in Qiyama."

Learning Adab and Imparting Adab

Even in the hardness and ill manners of
others there is benefit for the slave of Allah. Dealing with them is a
training in which there are many benefits. He must practice maintaining
wisdom and patience in the face of their annoyances and transgressions.
This requires learning to "break" the self, learn humility and learning
to suppress anger and rage seeking the reward of Allah. All of these benefits
will be lost by one who isolates himself form the Muslims. The Prophet
(sas) said:

"The strong is not the one who overpowers
others. Rather, the strong one is the one who maintains control of himself
in anger."

And note Allah's statement on the subject:

{Those who give in easy times and in hard
times. And those who suppress their rage. And those who are forbearing
with people. And Allah loves those who do good. (134)}

Islam provides the training to elevate
the character to levels of wisdom, forbearance and fruitful and benefical
interaction with others. One who learns Islam and does not mix with the
Muslims is like one who spend his life training an animal but never rode
it. The only benefit is that the animal will not bite him or kick him.
Likewise, the isolated but learned Muslim will withold his harm from others
and will not experience their harm, but his training is incomplete and
has not born any fruit.


Companionship is something needed by human
beings. It can be something highly praiseworthy when one seeks the companionship
of people of knowledge and piety from whomn they will benefit. In any case,
companionship should be for some of the time with those whose companionship
will not corrupt the remainder of your time. Strive always for your conversations
during such companionship to be regarding Islam.

Gaining Allah's Reward and Helping Others
to Do So Relationships with other Muslims give many opportunities for thawaab
from Allah Most High such as attending their funerals, visiting the sick
and responding to invitations. Allah rewards all of these actions because
they bring joy to the heart of the believers.

As for helping others to gain Allah's rewards,
this is by having an open door to the Muslims so that they may come to
give condolences, visit them when they are ill or congratulate them on
some good fortune. All of these give those others opportunities for more
reward from Allah.


You cannot practice humility if you isolate
yourself. In fact, it is commonly so that arrogance was the cause of choosing
isolation over intermingling in the first place.



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