Actions of the Community, Personal Grievance, Liberation
Issue 901 » July 1, 2016 - Ramadan 26, 1437
Actions of the Community
Fatir (The Originator) - Chapter 35: Verse 18 (partial)
The fact of individual responsibility and reward has a decisive effect on morality and behaviour. When people are fully aware that they are rewarded according to their own deeds, that none will be responsible for anyone else, and that none can escape responsibility, they realize the need to take stock of their actions before they have to answer for them. At the same time, this is reassuring, because no individual needs to worry about answering for the actions of his community. As long as he has done his duty, giving advice to his community to follow divine guidance, no further responsibility is laid on him. God Almighty does not hold mankind to account for their collective actions. They account to Him individually, each for their own work. It is the duty of the individual to advise others and try hard to bring them into line. Once he has done this, however, he bears no responsibility for their wickedness or corruption. He will be credited for his own good work. Similarly, if he lives in a good community, its goodness will not benefit him if he himself is wicked.
We see, then, an image of a multitude, each person carrying his or her own burden, with none able to help others. Even if someone requests help from the closest of relatives, none will oblige. It is thus a long queue, with people carrying loads and moving towards the check-point where the load will be weighed. Everyone is tired, preoccupied with the heaviness of their load, unable to think of others, even their own kin.
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 14, p. 172
The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to ensure that no one should have a personal grievance against him. If he inadvertently hit or knocked someone, he would offer that they retaliate. Abu Said al-Khudri reports that the Prophet was cutting something when a man came close to him. The Prophet accidently hit him with a stick he had in his hand, and caused a cut in the man's face. The Prophet said: "Come on, have your retaliation." The man said: "I forego it, Messenger of God." [Abu Dawud, Ahmad]
Some of the Prophet's Companions used such occasions to demonstrate their love of the Prophet who was dearer to them than their own children. Usayd ibn Hudayr of the Ansar was a cheerful person with a good sense of humour. Once he was speaking to some people who were with the Prophet and made them laugh. The Prophet poked him in his side with his finger. Usayd said: "You have hurt me." The Prophet said: "Then take your turn and poke me." Usayd said: "You are wearing a shirt and I have none." The Prophet lifted his shirt to allow him to retaliate, but Usayd hugged him and kissed his side. He said: "This is indeed what I want." [Baihaqi]
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi, pp. 156, 157
Islam, in a word, means liberation from all sorts of slavery such as may inhibit the progress of humanity or may not allow it to follow the path of virtue and goodness. It means man's freedom from dictators who enslave him by force or fear, make him do what is wrong and deprive him of his dignity, honour, property or life. Islam liberates man from such tyranny by telling him that all authority vests in God and God alone; He alone is the Real Sovereign. All men are His subjects and as such He alone controls their destinies, none of them having the power to cause any benefit or avert any distress from his own self independent of the Divine Will. All men shall be presented before Him on the Day of Judgment to account for their performance in this life. Thus Islam brings to man freedom from fear or oppression inflicted on him by men like himself and who, in reality, are as helpless as he is and who are no less subject to the Will of God Almighty than he himself is.
Islam also means freedom from lust, including the lust for life, as it is this very weakness of man which is exploited by tyrants and dictators intentionally or otherwise in enslaving their fellowmen. But for it no man would silently accept subservience to men like himself or sit idle to watch tyranny on the rampage and dare not challenge it. It is a great blessing of Islam that it taught man to fight tyranny and oppression bravely rather than cringe before them in abject servitude.
Islam Its Meaning and Message, "Islam and the Crisis of the Modern World" - Muhammad Qutb, p. 248