Loving, Giving and Productive – The Ideal Ummah
The Ummah of the Qur’an Never Sleeps
What is the connection between staying awake and spreading the Salam?
These two are symptoms of an alert ummah, that is caring and connected – to each other and to Allah Almighty.
Those who spend their wealth (in Allah ’s Cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2:274)
The Caring and Energised Ummah
LOVE: Islam is a religion of love – love for Allah Almighty and for all of His creation. Our concern for others is demonstrated through tangible acts that benefit and serve others as well as acts of ritual worship that connect us back to Allah Almighty.
INVESTMENT: Islam is the religion of those who circulate wealth through the community in a spirit of growth, investment and relief. This is directly opposed to hoarding. It also contrasts with the rotation of wealth exclusively amongst the affluent, which is disliked by Allah Almighty.
PRODUCTIVITY: Islam is the religion in which Muslims should be productive at every level – for personal, social and spiritual benefit.
Caring and Serving
In a nutshell, the ummah of the Qur’an never goes to sleep. It is alert to the context of its environment and cares deeply about others. It is energised by a penetrating spiritual connection which spurs it on to personal and communal growth and serving those in need. Just as a mother never stops responding to her children, the ummah of the Qur’an does not switch off at night: always awake, always working, always concerned.
Spending is Connected to Imaan
Spending (infaq) for the sake of Allah is closely connected to our imaan. We are urged to give continuously, as giving is the outward manifestation of our inner conviction and trust in Allah Almighty. It is not the amount we spend but the action that is important. Therefore, it is important that we evaluate ourselves constantly and ensure that we spend for Him with sincerity and ikhlaas, expecting no return from others. Giving in this way is a measure of our trust in Him. Spending in secret ensures that we have acted purely for the sake of Allah Almighty, unadulterated by our desire for praise.
When we are spending by night and by day and publicly and privately, there is a consistency between our inner and outer self.
Giving is not confined to money but extends to our time and effort as well. Thus the ummah of the Qur’an is energetic, and it certainly is not an ummah of tea breaks and lassitude! When we look at the rise of successful nations, such as Germany after the Second World War, they worked in shifts and worked hard, unlike other nations which work long hours but without productivity or efficiency. Work hard. Play hard. Rest hard– all for the sake of Allah.
Connecting to People by day and to Allah by Night
We should aim to be productive in the day, and as night falls we have the opportunity to boost our connection with Allah Almighty. It is a special time when our connectivity is at its fastest and we can work towards our akhirah, undistracted by the myriad demands on us in the day.
‘Those who spend their wealth (in Allah’s cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ (2:274).
Allah Almighty creates for us the picture of success in this ayah – the one who internalises the principle of this ayah, who understands its meaning and embodies it through their actions is assured of peace in their lives and in akhirah. The one who gives, gives, gives in every possible way and at every opportunity has understood what Allah Almighty wants from him.
When we have internalised this, we have an unequivocal guarantee that we will be protected from fear and grief. No matter what trials and tribulations come our way, we will have a shield from the greatest emotional traumas that we could experience. Fear is the debilitating feeling before an adversity, and grief is the overwhelming despair that follows afterwards. We are granted a psychological force-field that fends off adverse reactions within our own selves to the calamities that could befall us from outside. It no longer matters what earthquakes shake our lives, but our reaction to them and how we handle them. If we can retain our calm in times of crisis then it does not matter what the crisis is, because we come through intact, unscathed and protected.
The key to psychological well-being comes back to how much love and charity we give. When we demonstrate love and concern for others in our personal lives and put this into action collectively as an ummah we can create a just and humane society.
Effective society is based on Love and Action
The essential principles on which an effective society is based are rooted in love and action. When the Prophet (peace be on him) established the first Muslim community in Madinah it was built on five pillars. These are the values that should underpin a successful society.
They are outlined in the hadith:
You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: ‘Spread Salaam’ (the greeting of peace) among you. (Muslim)
O people! Spread Salam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night) you shall enter paradise peacefully. (Tirmidhi)
Belief in one Allah means that we connect to everything around us in the way He wants. He wants brotherly concern from us for all fellow beings and thus the significance of spreading the ‘Salam’. It is simple yet meaningful, as we may have no animosity towards anyone, rather it fosters love and concern for each other.
We show this love through our actions when we fulfil our obligations to our family. By being there for those closest to us, and beyond that by looking after those in need. Ultimately peace and love begins with the family unit and then radiates through the entire community. And so, strong family ties are essential for building a strong society.
As night falls, we re-energise our sense of peace through worshipping Allah Almighty, the Giver of Peace. By praying while others are sleeping, and dedicating a time in the night to do this, we reinforce our imaan so that we can give again in the day. In this way, we are not an ummah of laziness but have done our best and fulfilled our obligations to Allah Almighty and to others, so we have nothing to fear in dunya and nothing to fear in the akhirah.
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