To put it simply, Islam encourages unity and equality among all individuals, regardless of age, colour, gender or social status.
Take the annual pilgrimage of Hajj, for example; the ihram signifies quality in the eyes of our Lord and unites people in the process. Nobody is richer or poorer, popular or unpopular, educated or uneducated and so on in the eyes of Allah (SWT). Whether you are a widow or an orphan, a child or an adult – Allah (SWT) loves us all the same. Therefore, it is important for all of us to do our bit for humanity, be it by helping the homeless, sponsoring a child or volunteering our time.
“If either commits deeds of righteousness, be they male or female and have faith they will enter paradise and not the least injustice will be done to them.”
- The Holy Qur’an (4:124)
Many individuals are of the mindset that men are superior to women or even vice-versa – but this is simply not the case. Yes, women and men have been created differently, but our rights are the same – there is no hierarchy to speak of. Both women and men have the same obligations and both women and men have to account for their good and bad deeds. Justice is not based upon gender.
“Oh, mankind! We created you from a single (pair) male and female and made you into nations and communities that you may identify each other. Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah (SWT) is the most virtuous of you. And Allah (SWT) has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things.”
- The Holy Qur’an (49:13)
Encouraging unity in Islam is a duty upon all Muslim’s - in fact, not only in Islam but the whole of humanity. We are taught to share from a very young age and should continue this by teaching our children to do the same as sharing with others and being generous is proven to increase self-happiness.
It is natural for any human being to feel compassion towards another human being in the face of adversity and would do whatever they can in their power to ease someone else’s suffering. However, many of us go by what we see right in front of us and fail to look at the bigger picture.
For example, if we were crossing the road and saw someone fall, we would rush to their side immediately to assist them or see if they are okay; on the other hand, thousands of miles away across the world, many millions of people suffer day in, day out, struggling to just survive… but because we do not physically see it is easy to forget that it exists. Sadly, it does exist regardless.
When we watch the news following a world disaster or conflict it often doesn’t feel real because it’s not happening to us or our families; poverty is something we are accustomed to seeing on the news throughout our entire lives, right? What makes us think it won’t happen to us? Many of us are just one missed paycheck away from losing everything. Can you imagine if it did? Imagine what all these people currently in difficulty are going through every day?
“The Rich Get Richer; the Poor Get Poorer”
So many of us live a sheltered life away from reality and, of course, when we are tested in life or we lose someone close to us it hurts; when times get tough we often find ourselves wondering how we can carry on - but can you imagine how it would feel to lose almost everyone in your life and then be faced with having nothing and nobody left? It’s pretty hard to imagine, isn’t it? Imagine losing your parents and being left to fend for yourself as an orphan? Worse still, imagine if that had happened to your own child?
These brothers and sisters who are suffering in developing or war-torn countries are also human beings who feel love and compassion towards their families and they too feel hunger and thirst just as we do. Being in the position that so many of us are in, it is our duty as fellow human beings to help the homeless and those in need of our support. Collectively, we have the power to change the world, so let’s make a start on it! So many of us indulge in materialistic things that we do not really need when there are people out there struggling to just exist – just imagine… that expensive handbag you carry or the flashy, designer watch you occasionally wear having the potential to feed an entire community for a year?
This is the exact reason why Allah (SWT) is testing us with wealth – to see exactly what we do with it. Everything we have is God-given and temporary in this world, we are not taking a single penny to our grave with us so let’s share what we are given with others because it is the very reason Allah (SWT) has blessed us with it in the first place. Besides, giving in charity does not decrease our wealth, but in fact, increases it, along with earning us a multitude of rewards for our Hereafter as a result. Ultimately, it is our charity that will be our saviour on the day of Judgement.
We should want for others what we wish for ourselves because every single living being on this earth is created by Allah (SWT) and is equally as loved by Allah (SWT). Every blessing we are rewarded with in the world is thanks to Him and every difficulty we face is for our own betterment. Helping others gives us more of a sense of happiness and selfless satisfaction than helping ourselves ever will.
Many Islamic acts are based around unity and equality; take the pilgrimage of Hajj, for example, the entire concept surrounds Muslims in congregation, wearing identical clothing. This just proves that in the eyes of Allah (SWT) we are all equal, regardless of our financial standing or what people see of us. We have all come from Allah (SWT) and to Him we shall return. Congregational Friday prayers at Mosque, along with Salaatul Eid (Eid prayer) and Salaatul Janaazah (funeral prayer) are based upon unity, too.
So, brothers and sisters who are reading this, let’s unite and attempt to liberate those who are suffering today – let’s all join forces in helping the homeless, the elderly, the orphans, the widows, those who have had to flee their homes, those who have lost their loved ones, those who have no water or food - sooner rather than later; let’s invest in the rewards for our Hereafter sooner rather than later; let’s educate our children on the importance of sharing and remaining humble… sooner rather than later.