February 17, 2006

Helping Each Other in Goodness

Khutbah from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
17 February 2006 / 18 Muharram 1427

Maasyirah Muslimin Rahimakumullah,

I call upon myself and to my brothers here, to fear Allah s.w.t. as how He should be feared, to have taqwa in ourselves, taqwa which can instill in us the value of helping others; in matters of goodness and piety and in doing all that He commands and abstaining from all that He forbids.

Blessed Friday congregation,

As its name suggests, Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. And on this basis, Islam sets the nature of relationship between man, between race and nation, based on the concept of love for peace and harmony, not for enmity and hostility.

This can clearly be seen from Rasulullah s.a.w., who without doubt is a blessing to mankind, so that we may succeed in this world and in the hereafter, as stated in the Quran:

"And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘Aamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)." (Surah Al-Anbiya’ (21): 107)

My beloved brothers in Islam,

Among the many things that can contribute towards peace and harmony is the virtue of helping each other in matters of goodness and piety, which is much demanded in Islam, because it brings about respect, love and brotherhood, and with this, there will be peace and harmony in the ummah.

This is in line with Allah’s command in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5): 2:

"And help you one another in righteousness and piety. But do not help one another in sin and transgression."

Blessed Friday congregation,

Allah’s command to help each other in goodness is not only limited to us Muslims, but it covers the entire mankind in matters that bring virtue to us all, especially in multi-racial Singapore where we Muslims live side by side with various ethnic and religious groups.

This is because a Muslim who is strong in faith and taqwa is the one who has good relationships with others, even with non-Muslims.

At the same time, Islam encourages Muslims to avoid from instilling hostility and negative misunderstandings among man.

Allah s.w.t says in Surah Al-Anfaal (8): 25:

“And fear the fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people).”

Blessed Friday congregation,

Helping each other in beneficial matters among Muslims and non-Muslims is not something new in Islam. It has existed since Rasulullah’s time, even when the Muslims were in Madinah, they lived in a society made of various races and religions. And this included the Jewish community. In order to ensure religious and racial harmony, Rasulullah s.a.w., as the leader of the city, had introduced a treaty between the occupants of Madinah, including the non-Muslims, a treaty which is known as the Treaty of Madinah.

Among the terms stated in the treaty was that each Madinah citizen must maintain close cordial relationships among themselves, regardless of religion or heritage. They must advise each other in promoting goodness and forbidding evil.

This principle of helping each other towards goodness among mankind, including non-Muslims as stated in the treaty of Madinah is also in line with Allah’s Words in Surah Al-Mumtahanah (60): 8

"Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity."

Now we know that Allah encourages us to help each other in beneficial matters, among Muslims and non-Muslims too, and the benefits and positive effects which can be gained from this good virtue.

So it is time for us to ask ourselves, to judge ourselves, is our virtue of helping others towards goodness limited only among the Muslim society? Have we ever thought of not helping someone who is in need if the person is a Non-Muslim Chinese or Indian? If the answer is Yes, then we need to change this wrong perspective and work towards widening the scope of helping others, including the non-Muslims.

Blessed Friday congregation,

Among the many examples of helping each other which can contribute towards mankind, passing over boundaries of religion, country or race, is by involving ourselves in humanistic efforts organised by associations such as Mercy Relief, Red Cross Society, and others. This can be done in any association as long as the activities do not go against the teachings in Islam.

This can be done by contributing donations or by participating directly in the humanistic missions such as volunteering and others.

The involvement of Muslims in such activities will portray Islam as a religion that places importance on harmony by encouraging the spirit of love for brotherhood and volunteering. This is because these associations are always involved in helping every time there is a calamity or tragedy, regardless of nation, religion or skin colour.

May our efforts in contributing and helping each other in goodness among mankind be blessed by Allah s.w.t. and may we be among those mentioned in a hadith:

"The best men are those who are most beneficial towards others." (Hadith narrated by Imam Baihaqi)

May our efforts in helping all levels of society towards goodness keep up the good reputation of Islam and the good name of our prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

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