Channel: Jamal Badawi
In the Name of God, the beneficence the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, be some blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. As is our fashion on the Islamic focused program, I greet you with our usual greeting at the universal greetings of peace. It's a greeting that has been used by all the profits from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond you. I'm your host Hama Rashid. Today we have our sixth program in our
series dealing with the social system of Islam. And more specifically, today we'll be talking about social responsibility. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal betta, we have St. Mary's University, brother, Jamal Assalamualaikum,
I guess is our fashion. I wonder if perhaps I could ask you before we get into today's topic, if you could just take a few moments to highlight the main points of our program last week. Certainly, the main topic for last week was the an extension of our discussion of brotherhood, and particularly in the area of selection of friends. And he indicated that selection of friends is part of the Islamic teaching because it has far reaching impact on the characters and way of thinking of the individual. We indicated that Islam does encourage righteous
social interaction, and that the Prophet peace be upon him described the believer as a person with gentle friendly, can easily get along with other people. We said that there is an exception to that rule, however. And that's the case when there is lots of commotion and evil or corruption where it may be harmful to the person to be in the midst of that corruption, in which case, keeping away would be better. But otherwise, social interaction in the right way, of course, would be encouraged,
finally said that, in order for this friendship, to be really strong, and to grow,
it must be based on solid grounds should be based on sincerity and believe in God and love of God. And we mentioned some of the saying of the Prophet peace be upon him about
loving one's brothers for the sake of God as one of the signs of faith, and that those people who love each other for the sake of God will come in the day of judgment with light in their faces,
and that they will be under the protection and grace of God.
The second thing is that to protect friendship, one should avoid certain things. And again, we describe some of the prophetic teaching about that like visiting each other, helping each other inviting people and so on. And finally, some of the things to be avoided.
Also, to prevent any harm to friendship, such as market mockery against others, using improper names or titles that people don't like, spying, being snobbish and similar type of Act. So it was basically the question of friendship and Islamic perspective. Okay, we're now turning to today's topic. Many people have difficulty relating social responsibility to religion. They believe that religion is mainly for regulating one's relationship to God.
What is your response to somebody who might hold that particular view from a Muslim perspective? How would you respond?
it is important and it is true also, to say that Islam does
worry and care about regulation of the person's relationship with God. There's no question about that. Because without regulating this relationship, a person will feel like lost. It doesn't have any sense of objective sense of direction. So it is very important that parts of the Islamic teaching or the foundation I should say is the establishment and nourished to establish a nurse, this person
The relationship with God, there's no doubt about this.
the this kind of relationship indeed, provides the total orientation of the individual and direction of thinking and affect his attitude towards all other issues and activities in life.
But having said that much, it is important also to emphasize that Islam is not an individualistic type of religion, or religion, where whose exclusive focus is just on the personal man to God type of relationship.
Islam does not only regulate relationship between men and God, it considered also as part of that relationship is the relationship of men to men. In other words, it's part of the total perspective of relationships.
It is true that this kind of beginning point is important personal relationship with God.
But it is just like saying it is enough to have a house by having a solid concrete, you can have a solid foundation of concrete, but you're not have you don't have a house. It is a necessary condition, but not sufficient condition to have the total integrity of the faith.
In Islamic perspective, social involvement relationship between people is also part and parcel of the total picture.
Perhaps you could
give us an idea of the from your knowledge of the Quran, some proof that the focus on Islam is not to be exclusively on the individual and that there is a greater responsibility that one is, in fact, part of the community is part of a community that includes this whole concept of social development as well as this attention to the individuals. Right, what the evidence is overwhelming us with the Quran. And whenever the address is made, with respect to certain commands,
exhortation teaching injunctions,
the in the overwhelming majority of cases, the address is in the plural, all believers see exactly the matters of belief, even even though the belief, as you know, is basically individual. But even then it addresses all believers are all you who believe in declarations, even an act like individual worship, which is like pure acts of worship, because we said before that the entire life of a believer could be a constant act of worship, even though he might be doing variety of activities with certain conditions. But even in the pure acts of devotion and worship,
you find that the Quran also addresses the plural, Hakim Salah established price as a care pay the poor do
the same thing about pilgrimage. So even this acts of worship is addressed to the Muslim community or Muslim Ummah, as a plural are included. In this by the same token, you notice also that the same kind of address is used in the Quran in other areas of life as well. In terms of social organization in terms of political organization, well, I'm sure by now there are matters are supposed to be decided by mutual consultation among them. So they get a basic rule for political life in Islam consultation, not dictatorship. So in all of this, in economic teachings, it takaharu marotti Amina river in Quinta momineen, talking against usury, and again it does not address an individual
addresses in the plural,
in the moral teachings, even most people to tell right moral teaching is basically individual Yes, but even then, in moral teaching, the plural also is used as tenable. So avoid that you might succeed, you may succeed, talking about
usury and wine drinking and all that. So even in matters like that, it gives you the clear indication that the society at large that you and I not just me alone, or you alone, all of us would have to cooperate together to fulfill the God of our vice tendency or our trusteeship here on Earth as servants of God. In that sense, then a Muslim can comfortably say that, in Islamic perspectives, social development, active involvement is part and parcel of his religious duties, not just socially, it is a religious duty incumbent upon the Muslim and I haven't extended having established that point. Are there any specific mechanisms that are suggested which may help
achieve the necessary social development. Well, to achieve this involvement and development, there are all kinds of mechanisms. If you if I were to codify them and classify in a simple way, there are certain mechanisms that relate to education and motivation, which is very essential people getting to understand their role to be motivated to be good citizens, not in a given country, but citizen of the world, as the Muslim would look at it in a more universal sense,
it may include also institution building, that is, by bedding and establishment mechanisms, social institutions, and social life, such as the family and other social institutions, political institutions, economic institutions, in such a way that those institutions would cooperate together in helping achieve the overall objective of society or the community.
It could also include mechanism, which is perhaps quite a special concept in Islam, very important concept in Islam. It's known as number of 019 that is the duty incumbent on the Muslim to ordain the good or to exhort people, and himself, of course, towards good and to fight evil and corruption. Well, that's a very interesting concept, ordaining the good and forbidding the evil. One effect, you might develop a little bit elaborate on unsuppressed, we can get a more fuller appreciation of what is intended by this expression. Well, the essential basis for that particular concept is that
relationship that should exist particularly between the believers is that they should always cooperate with each other in things that pleases God and help them achieve their functions here on Earth.
One of the most interesting verses in the Quran dealing with this particular area is the verse that says when we knew when our Minato bajo Alia Oba morona. Maru, why and how Nonnenmacher
allowed us. That is the believing, or the believers, men and women are believing men and believing women are like friends and supporters, supporters helpers of each other. And then it describes what kind of cooperation what kind of mutual help it is really referring to. It says, because they are then what is good or exhaust each other towards what's good. They tried to forbid the evil, or fight corruption, and they obey God and the Messenger of God. And then it concludes, we'll accept common law, that such kind of people who have this attitude of cooperating for good are the ones who will receive the compassion and mercy of God. That's one thing. On the other hand, we find that the Quran
provides this quality of authentic the good and fighting evil as one of the basic characteristics of somebody or some society or community being better than others, not better in terms of any other
false barriers, but better in goodness. Indeed, one verse in the Quran addressing the believers, it says the true believers provided the, you know, stick to that. It says Quantum hydromax inquisitiveness, that morona will narrow within how Nonnenmacher with minimal overlap, that you are the best nation or the best community of believers, that's a better term, the best oma that were raised for mankind.
Again, it doesn't say you are because you believe in one particular face or because you belong to a particular race or have a particular geographic area or a particular generation, these are all subsidiary, it gives the objective criteria.
Moron if you are then or that is good, you forbid or that is evil, and you believe in God,
which makes the competition on objective and good foundations.
But the idea is not just a matter of
broad motherhood type of statements about cooperation. Indeed, the Quran, as indicated earlier, makes it incumbent makes it an obligation in any true community of believers to carry out this duty, of authentic the good and forbidding the evil. Indeed it comes in the form of command in the Quran. For example in in chapter three verse 104. Well Takumi Come on Machado nylon net arise among you
A group of people, at least not a group of people, who would invite people to goodness, who would ordain or that is good and forbid, that is evil, or that's evil. So it comes even in the form of command.
But it doesn't even stop at that it makes a warning that should, the community of believers neglects.
To perform that duty, they may be punished as other people before them were punished, indeed, buried in the Quran, for example, about how God even cursed those who disbelieved and then it gets one of the description of those disbelievers can when I attend,
that they used not to try to stop each other from doing evil. And as the Prophet peace be upon it explained it that a person would do something wrong, and at the beginning of the person feel that this is not like his friend. And then later on, he just sits with him while he's doing something wrong. And later on, he becomes used to that. And that could lead eventually, as you know, to even emulating that evil and just being part of that. So it's true Muslim, a true believer is one who's tried to take a positive step, rather than to agree with everybody regardless what they do, to take a step, an affirmative step, to try and change the world, the bad situation into a better one. So in
that sense, then it is quite obvious that the Quran ties very closely between the overall social welfare and social development, if you will, with this attitude of ordaining the good and forbidding the evil.
Now, I wonder if perhaps you could suggest any specific measures of how this could be how this could be done?
Well, the answer to that has appeared actually, in terms of specific, practical steps to take, or what methods to use the Prophet peace be upon him in one saying, said, Whoever have uses something wrong, or evil, or oppressive, evil can involve all kinds of things. If you see anything evil or wrong, then he must try to change it by consistent action. The original word dedicated, translated literally means by his hand, but that doesn't necessarily mean always just using hand, but it means concerted, affirmative, positive action.
If he is not able to correct the wrongs by hand, then he should use his tank, to try and change that throw advice, talking.
And if he's not able to change by the tank, then he should, at least in his heart, despise evil or feel bad or feel that he's not in agreement with that, at least in his heart. And then the Prophet says, that's the part that sometimes is forgotten. And he said that this, the last measure is the least of faith.
In other words, one would not have even the least degree of faith, if at least in his heart, he doesn't feel that he despises evil, and he loves good. But that's not enough. This is just the lowest degree of faith.
There seems to be some kind of a hierarchy that's suggested here in terms of the measures that are listed in this thing by Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. Could you comment on that? One? I would say yes, there is definitely some kind of
hint as to which of those actions or which of those mechanisms or criteria are best because the Prophet peace be upon him, put them actually a condition of teacher they said, change by action, you can change by action, then by thanks. So it shows clearly that the first one positive affirmative action is preferable to just using a tank. I mean, that's quite obvious from the wording of the saying of the Prophet peace.
But this does not necessarily mean that one should disregard
all circumstances and all conditions and just mechanically apply the saying of the Prophet peace be open, because the idea also statute the best and most effective positive results. But that could vary. I'll give you an example. Suppose you walk down the street and you find a bunch of kids, small kids tying a rope around the neck of a cat or dog and pulling it and the cat or dog is just about to suffocate.
Well, if you start preaching and just talking, the cat would be dead already. Right? So in that case, you might intervene. You might while telling them stop that kid is you know that song gets cold or something, but you might rush to the rescue of the cat.
But you may have another situation where a friend of yours might
For example, be alcoholic or drug A Holic or whatever. Well, if you say use hand, what does it mean? You just take the glass of wine away from him and spin it by force, or take the drugs away from him and throw it in the trash can?
Well, if you use that method, under circumstances like that, you might not be really healthy to solve the situation. But maybe when he's sober enough, he or she, when then you by kind, exhortation and discussion and reasoning, you might have a much more
effective results, then the use of handiness in a way that's not very fruitful, in a case like that. So one has to look also into what
methods or what means is most effective under what conditions. So the preference as I see it, in terms of action, first before words, is intended to show us that don't just stop at words. And many times the difficulties and problems and evil that you might find in society, are not all for Thai words, people can write art, can write books, preach from pulpits, of churches, and temples and all that. But it is our human experience that shows that this is needed. And that's fine and dandy. But that itself, isn't just insufficient, major reforms cannot take place unless the community joins together in concerted action
to enforce the good, and to forbid, the the even. So
it depends, right? This, this this kind of call for involvement. I know a lot of people when they speak about social responsibility or social development or, you know, a lot of people say that we're looking, I don't really want to get them involved. And that's kind of
typical stereotype. Yeah, you know, there's a lot of apathy and indifference and so on.
Is this an acceptable attitude as much as Islam is concerned?
Well, as far as I know, that's not an acceptable attitude for the Muslim. Indeed, one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is that he says anyone who does not care about the affairs of the university is not one of them. He didn't say simply, he is wrong, or erroneously simply says, he's not one of them. And
the main the main reasons for people being reluctant to, you know, correct the wrongs
seem to fall within various categories, such as the fear of criticizing somebody else. Like they say, the easiest way to lose a friend is to criticize, that's not a good Islamic attitude, because it shows over emphasis on personal ego, that how come somebody is pointing a weakness to me, Do I have any weakness? So it's as if you know, we are on, you know, you're always on top of the world.
Look at the, in contrast, the humility and humbleness of a great Muslim like Ahmed, the second Khalifa of the Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, when he said, may God have mercy, or be merciful are the words, any person who gives me my faults as a gift, see, who considered somebody who's telling him or pointing out to him, that this is a shortcoming see a god do this or don't do that, if a person is doing that, he regard that as a gift, not as a something that is enduring to his,
to his ego. This is the kind of attitude that one should really adopted. So if the community at large, seem to accept constructive, courteous criticism, in that good spirit, then it shouldn't be much of a fear that why should I try to correct them? Secondly, people also hesitate to do this because they say, all right, what am I going to do?
I'm only one person among so many millions. Why should I be just the Crusader for that? And that, again, is wrong. It's just like, you know, saying, you know, everybody just put a drop of water in a bucket so that you can have a bucket of water and everybody say, Alright, what would my drop,
really make any difference doesn't make any difference. And if everybody thinks this way, that has nothing to do, unless you really have this attitude of trying to contribute
your lessons best, regardless of the results, it doesn't mean that you have to change everything, do your best. You're not doing that to please yourself or anybody else you to please God. And once you've done your duty, maybe that might encourage other people also, to join as well in doing good, but I understand that the main problem in people thinking about so called not get involved
is the feeling somehow of apathy.
that so long as I am good individualistically That's why I said Islam is not
an individualistic religion in that sense that you achieve your own salvation and piety as an individual, and it's just a person. Religion is a personal relationship between man and God. Well, this are accurate statements. But it's quite misleading because it overlooks the need to be involved, they need to avoid this appalling apathy. As to what is going on in society. I realized that in some cases, it might be quite difficult. You cannot step in every situation. If there's an armed robbery,
and you're not armed, and you don't, you're not in a good position really to stop it, and you try to do anything to stop it.
Without preparation, I realize that you might cause your own death or the death of other people also. So one has to be quite careful and prudent in doing this. But the point here is that in many cases,
the criminal is a coward.
And unless he sees that people somewhat acquiesce
to oppression, he would not be restrained. I'll give you just an illustration. That happened a few years back, it was reported in various magazines. In the US in New York, I believe it was in New York, and said that at night, somebody was mugging, a young lady attacking her.
She started screaming, it was night, she started screaming in the street. So what happened that some people heard the scream, so they just turned on the lights, they looked from the window, see what's going on.
Just the fact that some people were looking and turned the lights on. It scared the criminals, so he left her.
And then apparently, everybody didn't care less, just turned off the light went back to bed.
He started to attack her again in the state. She started to scream.
people heard it again, they turned the light on, just watch looking
observers, nothing to be done.
He was scared again. It was repeated for the third time and then finally apparently conclude that those people are good for nothing. We're just watching.
So in the following morning, she was found murdered in the street.
Now, I'm not saying that everybody should have rushed down to take her physically, at least that some people had that attitude. It would have sufficed few people getting ground and escorting her or like giving her a lift to where she's going.
But even the least the least action of calling a police or keeping the light to scare the person off. Nobody could. And again, why people say I don't want to get involved seeing somebody being murdered and they just do nothing about it. I think you might have seen in some of the television programs, also the appalling efficacy of people being attacked in the streets and people just look at it, do nothing about it.
Even if you have a large number of people with it alone criminals, nobody intervenes, interferes. In some cases, they have shown pictures of people even stealing deliberately or trying to open cars with
you know, people just go around and never bother to ask or to try to do something to stop a crime or, or evil. Now, like I said before,
when we talk about involvement, we're not just talking about individual acts of heroism. You must have heard the people who are arrested so many criminals just on their own
programs vicious. Well, that's fine and dandy. But that's not enough, unless you get a massive trend among the population, a general attitude to try and stop a crime to try to stop the oppression. Then only this time we'll find the culprits scared and reluctant to commit their particular crime. Indeed, the Quran warns us against this attitude. For example, in chapter eight, but taco fitness and Lazarus even a Latina woman called Casa that you should avoid oppression or even, which may not only affect those of you who are righteous, which means to affect everybody. You can say evil can be isolated only to those who are committing that evil. If you keep quiet, uneven, if you don't get
involved, that evil that's affecting other people will affect you tomorrow. And if you help somebody else today, somebody will help you tomorrow. So, if you have this as a general attitude, you have a great deal of improvement in society. And just to finalize this point, one very interesting
similar to what was given by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him about apathy and saying Alright, I do my part.
He said that if people do not try to stop even they are just like
group of people who went on a ship. And some people were in the upper deck. Yes, others were in the lower deck. So somebody from the lower deck says, instead of getting up and down every time to get water and get things, why don't you make a hole in the ship, so that you can throw the water directly.
And then he said that on this, the community it was a community of the people in the ship stopped him from doing that he would drown, and everybody else would also down as well. with him. That's what happened that society is drowning. But nobody's helping. Because you say, right. It's not my business. I don't want to intervene. You know, I don't want to be nosy. I don't want to do this or that. And that's exactly what's causing the suffering and problems that you see in society. And that's why again, the social involvement concept in Islam is especially a concept that has lots of important implications.
See our program on that note, for today, we've run out of time. We want to thank you for watching. invite you back next week. Assalamu alaikum