A Broken Ummah

     They say, ‘unity brings strength, a nation that unites is a nation that prospers’ but the question is, have we, as an Nation, reached that level where we can claim unity with strength? Originally, I wanted to name this post, “what does it take to be a Muslim?” and I wasn’t going to throw around statements such as, “proclaim the shahadah and BANG! You’re a Muslim”, although that is true. Rather I wanted to bring to light the misconceptions of actions that are perceived to add to the overall progress of our Ummah.

     Let me begin with an example; lets say, a young sister (or even a brother), who prays five times a day, fasts (not only during ramadan but throughout the different months), reads Quran daily and eventually gets the lifetime opportunity to  perform Hajj (and YES, its the performance of a lifetime); do all of those acts of worship improve the situation of our Ummah or do they facilitate the road to paradise for one person? It’s a question that can be debated however, in all honesty, from observing the example, I would have to incline towards the later of the two suggestions. Why? Simple.

     Let’s take a moment and examine salah. The establishment of prayer by an individual adds, improves and protects the situation of that particular person’s status with Allah. In the Book of Allah, the King of kings stated reasons for establishing the prayer. He, the Majestic and Most-High said, “and perform the Salah; Verily, the Salah prevents from Al-Fahsha’ and Al-Munkar” (Al-Ankaboot verse 45). The prayer protects from Al-Fahsha and Al-Munkar meaning, the salah would prevent an individual from immoral behavior and evil actions. But dont misunderstand this ayaat to mean that a person who prays can not possibly commit crimes because that is not true. In fact, Ibn Katheer mentions a story about a man who came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and with this ayaat in mind, he said to the Messenger of Allah (saw), “so and so prays at night but when morning comes, he steals”. At that, the Prophet (saw) said, إِنَّهُ سَيَنْهَاهُ مَا تَقُول  (what are you saying [ie, salah] will stop him from doing that). In other words, yes, the prayer protects the individual from evil but the change must come from within. We must understand that there isn’t and will never be a short cut to Jannah (actually, maybe there is one shortcut but I’m not telling NO ONE). Getting back to my original point; salah brings improvement to the situation of one individual and helps protect him, and becomes a means of guidance from Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds. If you choose not to pray then you loose out in this world and when the matter has been settled and the smoke has cleared, you’ll find your seat waiting for you in the fire of Hell along with the sinners. The same sinners who were asked by the people of paradise in the Quran, “what brought you into hell? And they shall say; we were not of those who prayed” (74:42-43).

     So if you happen to be among the fortunate group of people who guard their prayers then be grateful to Allah and dont ever, I mean EVER EVER EVER think that your prayer somehow brings improvement to the overall situation of our brothers and sisters across the globe. It doesn’t. Prayer is of benefit to you and it is the right of Allah over you. It does not give you the right to walk with pride, raise your head and confidently declare, “I’m a good Muslim because I pray”, for prayer is the least you could do as a believer.

     As for the issue of fasting, it purifies your soul. It protects you from evil and guards your faith. The more you fast, the more at ease you become with your soul. Fasting is a great blessing from Alllah and all but a small group of us have ignored the superority of the one who fasts over the one who doesnt. Have you ever asked yourself, which month is the best of months? Or which of the days is the best of days? (The answers to those questions are, the month of Ramadan and the day of Arafat). Now let me ask you, what do these two (Ramadan and the day of Arafat) have in common? For one, fasting. Although in Ramadan fasting is mandatory on those of us who can observe it, while on the day of Arafat, to observe fasting on such a day carries great benefit but is not mandatory. Nevertheless, the Day of Arafat and the month of Ramadan bring benefit and great rewards to those who patiently fast on such great occasions. On a side note; nowadays, when the local Imam informs us of the benefits for fasting on such a day as Arafat, many ask, “Ya’Shiek, is it sunnah to fast on this day or is it fard?”. Shamfully, during the time of the companions, such question never existed. 

       Now back to the matter at hand, so if you fast, alhamdulilah, the reward of fasting is so great, you’ll find it on your scale of deeds on the Day when the stars will be falling and the sky will be ripping to pieces but as for today, be patient but dont be ignorant. Do not allow yourself to think your fasting is contributing positive outcome to the situation of the Muslims who continue to suffer because IT AINT! Fasting has been prescribed upon you and brings benefit only for you. As for improving the problems facing the Ummah, it does very little. 

     Truthfully, I could continue to break down the rest of the example I presented earlier and draw a picture that will illustrate the minimum level of actions and deeds a believer can commit too in order to have a chance to enter Jannah, more often then not, brings benefit to himself while it brings little benefit to the situation of the Muslims around the world.

    So here are a few questions that I need you to answer before we can proceed further. Do you (sincerely) want to make a difference? Do you want to revive the Ummah and be of those who led during the Ummah’s toughest moments? If so, here is one of many suggestions that could lead to the road of our Ummah’s overall improvement. Are you listening? Get involved. Do something for the Ummah. Don’t be of those who say, “yeah, you know…I pray five times a day at the masjid. I know I’m so mashAllah, what can I say? It took me a couple of years to train myself to be this way and did I forget to mention, I read about 10 pages of Quran daily? Now who said, I’m not doing much for the Ummah?”. Its almost laughable because such a person who makes such actions known is seeking the pleasure of the people. If not that, than someone needs to slap homeboy across the head a remind him that he is doing VERY little for the ummah, although he may doing much for himself. Nevertheless, its true, everything that was mentioned by such an individual is impressive and ultimately, will improve his chances of being admitted into paradise but nothing I’ve heard from such an individual suggests to me that he cares about the Muslims. Don’t get me wrong, if the Messenger of Allah (saw) stated and made it permissible for every man (or woman) to work for himself without caring about the brotherhood of the Muslims, then Big Ups to such a person who has striven to his own best interest. However, the Messenger of Allah (saw) and Allah Himself, have made it clear that this Ummah is the best of Ummahs because we have the best of examples to follow. Therefore, it is from eeman and the way of the Prophet, to love for your brother what you love for yourself and if you don’t, then you my friend, haven’t tasted the sweetness of eemaan. The point is, we are not only responsible for our well being and our families well being but also, we are responsible for the well being of the Ummah. Every single man and woman who is apart of the Ummah. Did we forget that Islam connected our hearts when we were divided into tribes and nations? Maybe we have but let me just remind you, our relationship as brothers and sisters in Islam, will continue far past our lifetime and well into the next. So don’t be of those who cared about no one but their own self-fish souls.

     Keep in mind; if you go to the masjid and complete your daily prayers in congregation then take it one step further and take someone along with you. If you did that, you’ll be doing something positive for the Ummah. If you read the Quran every single day and you’re content with your relationship with Quran, take it one step further and go and teach your younger siblings the Book of Allah. If you did that, you would be doing something positive for the Ummah. If you fast and you find no one around you wants who desires to fast, then take the money that you would of spent throughout the day and find a poor man on the streets and ask him if he would like for you to purchase him a meal. If he says yes, go with him and along the way, introduce yourself as a Muslim and inform him that God has ordered you to spend from that which you love on others (inshAllah he will be impressed by your good manners and your generosity and hopefully, he will accept Islam). If you did that, then you would be doing something positive for the Ummah. The point is, be creative. Don’t become content with your level of commitment to Islam. Remember, Allah stands in no need of us while we will forever stand in great need of Him.                                                                                            

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2 Responses

  1. Something tells me, we have alot of work to do as an Ummah.

  2. Asalamu Alaikum,
    Hope all is well with you, Insha Allah.

    Indeed, we have alot of work to do! Jazakallahu Khair for the reminder. It was really a refreshing read.

    I have some more comments to add, but I’m in a hurry now. Insha Allah, I’ll drop by some to other time.

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