The Prophet (as) On Sacred Community

Peace, one and all…

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In a recent post we explored the importance of sacred community.  Both individually and collectively, we are the Temple of God on earth, and one of the most important purposes of religion is in enabling us to realise this ever more fully.  This is why we find a great many sayings of the Prophet (as) on developing sacred community.  In this post, therefore, I want to explore a few of these sayings.

In the first place, sacred community must be based on our living humanity, on those ties which unite us all.  That is, for community to be sacred it must be based on our most fundamental shared reality, our highest common denominator.  As such, the Messenger of God (as) said:

‘Love for humanity what you love for yourself’ Bukhari

There are many sayings which describe numerous ways in which to foster conscious Muslim community.  The more I read these, and reflect on them, the more convinced I become that this training is stepping stone to an ever more conscious humanity, of community building on a grand scale.  From this perspective, many sayings of the Prophet (as) take on a new, deeper significance.  As God wills, I hope to explore these sayings in the coming weeks and months.

‘God’s protective hand is with the congregation’ al-Tirmidhi

‘Prayer in congregation surpasses individual prayer by twenty seven degrees’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Two should never converse privately excluding a third until others join them. The reason being is that it would dismay him’ Ibn Majah

‘The characteristics of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he gives his word, he breaks it; and when he is given a trust, he is unfaithful’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Do not belittle any act of kindness, even that of greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance’ (Muslim)

‘He who directs others to a good deed is as the one who did it; and, assuredly, God loves the act of aiding the distressed’ Ibn Abi al-Dunya

‘May God have mercy on a servant who spoke well and gained good, or kept silent and avoided harm’ Ibn al-Mubarak

‘Three practices will keep sincere your brother’s love for you: greeting him when you see him; making room for him in gatherings; and calling him by the most endearing of his names’ Bayhaqi

‘Every Muslim has five rights over every other Muslim: the right to a reply, should he greet him; an acceptance, should he invite him; a visit, should he fall ill; a prayer, should he sneeze; a presence at his funeral, should he die’ Ibn Majah

‘The servants God loves most are those most sincere with God’s servants’ Imam Ahmad

‘The most virtuous behaviour is to engage those who sever relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you’ al-Tabarani

‘If you happen to see a funeral procession, stand for it until it passes or the dead are laid to rest’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Muslims are a fraternity; therefore, there is no superiority of one over another, except in scruples (taqwa)’ al-Tabarani

‘If a Muslim consoles his brother during some crisis, God will adorn him in garments of grace on the Day of Judgement’ Ibn Majah

‘A believer is not one who eats his fill while his next door neighbour goes hungry’ al-Bukhari

‘A Muslim never gives a fellow Muslim a better gift than wisdom through which God increases him in guidance or turns him away from harmful behaviour’ al-Bayhaqi

‘Whoever walks with a tyrant in support of him, while aware of his tyranny, has abandoned Islam’ al-Tabarani

‘On the Day of Judgement, God will humiliate and forsake anyone who betrays a believer to a tyrant’ al-Bayhaqi

‘Whoever defrauds us is not one of us; deception and guile are hellish’ Abu Dawud & al-Tabarani

‘It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first’.

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