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Under the shade of the Qur’an: 9 paths to communal empowerment

Mencerdaskan & Memuliakan - Juli 9, 2021
Under the shade of the Qur’an: 9 paths to communal empowerment
 - (Mencerdaskan & Memuliakan)

GURINDAM.ID– Islam is the religion of success. It leads and provides its followers a clear guidance on how to achieve success in life. Many verses of the Quran talk about success and how the believers must struggle to achieve success. (See for example: Ch.2: 5 & Ch. 23:1)

But all must know, success in Islam is balance and comprehensive in nature. Our success means both physical and spiritual as well as worldly (dunia) and in the Hereafter (Akhirah).

The Islamic view of success is concluded in our daily supplication (doa): “Rabbana aatina fiddunia hasanah wa fil akhirati hasanah wa qinaa adzaban naar” (O Allah, grant us happiness/goodness (success) here in this world and in the hereafter. And save us from the hellfire).

Among the meanings of balance and comprehensive success that Islam wants is for the believers to succeed both in their individual and communal (collective) life. In several verses of the Qur’an, Allah often uses “و الجماعة” (waw al-jamaa’ah) to emphasize the importance of communal success.

Imam shamsi ali


One great example of how collective success can be achieved is through collective obedience to Allah. In Surah Al-Hajj verse 77 Allah tells us: “O you Who believe, bow down l, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord, and do good; that you may prosper”.

9 paths to communal success

The following 9 ways or paths to communal success are taken from what Allah mentions in Surah As-Shof of the Holy Quran. The reason I am particularly interested in using this surah as grounds for my opinion is because the Surah (chapter) itself is talking about continued struggle between the haqq (the truth) and baatil (the falsehood).

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Allah says: “they want to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths. But Allah will complete His light, even though the unbelievers may detest” (As-Soff: 8).

Therefore the Surah is inherently talking about the struggle and how the truth (the faith) at the end of the battle will prevail.

Furthermore, the victory the Surah is talking about is communal in nature because of the way the Quran expresses it with waawul jamaa’ah as mentioned earlier.

There are 9 ways or paths to communal success the Surah mentions:

First, The importance of “tasbeeh” in life (see verse no.1).

This means that for us to succeed we must take Allah first and foremost in every step in our life. Allah is the Creator, the Owner and the Manager of every thing in this universe. And His Glory (kibriyaa’) must be in our hearts and minds all the time and in every step of our life.

Nothing can we do and achieve without His help (nuhsroh) and decision (qadar). And so the tendency of being a “superman” is not an Islamic concept because everything is accomplished with the blessing and mercy of Allah.

Second, Don’t say things you don’t practice. (See verse no. 2-3)

These verses indicate strongly the importance of self criticism and self correction. Self empowerment begins with self change.

Self change can only happen when a person is willing to do self introspection, self criticism (acknowledgement of ones mistakes) and self corrections

Third, nothing can be achieved in our communal life without unity. Allah explicitly tells us that in the Surah (see verse no. 4).

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The verse clearly tells us that in order to win against our enemies, including our own internal problems such as poverty, ignorance, chaotic social life, division, etc., this Ummah must struggle to reestablish its ukhuwah (brotherhood) and wihdah (unity). Without unity this Ummah will remain weak and ineffective.

Fourth, faith requires honesty. And the most important aspect of honesty here is honesty in faith itself. Musa AS complains about his people who were not honest to him in faith (see verse no. 5).

The verse tells that when we claim to be believers, we must prove it. Not as some people who claim to be followers of the faith, but in reality they openly or secretly betray the faith. That is what happened to Musa AS. Clearly, no collective or communal success can be achieved without honesty in faith.

Fifth, Sustainability (continuity) in the works of Dakwah. Allah talks about Musa AS, then Isa AS, who informed us about the coming of the last and final messenger of Allah Muhammad (SAW) (see verse no. 6-7).

For this community (Ummah) to succeed the works of Dakwah must not stop in a generation. But must continue down to generations as Ibrahim set for us a great example.

Sixth, Understanding and being aware of the threat. As I mentioned earlier, there are some who intend to extinguish the light of Allah. This is an imminent and a permanent threat to this Ummah.

And so the verse reminds us of the importance of preparing ourselves to face that threat. And the best way to face it at our time is by mastering “al-afwaah” (which literally means mouths). “Mouths”today are represented by different kinds of media, including social media.

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Seventh, The urgency of “hardwork” to achieve all positive results in life. Hardwork is known as Jihad in Islam. (See verse no. 10-11).

The verses instruct the believers to struggle in Allah’s path to achieve communal success. Success that can be worldly in nature (nashrun min Allah). Or ultimate success with paradise in the Hereafter.

Eighth, all believers must take part in the struggle to maintain and protect the faith. As Isa AS asked his follower (hawwariyuun) and their response was solid to be a part of the struggle (see verse no. 14).

This Ummah can not win and survive without all being responsible in protecting the faith. The threat is clear (mubiin) and fully committed. And the only way to face it is by fully committing ourselves to the struggle.

Ninth, with all challenges and obstacles in our way to success, believers must keep hope and optimism. Allah informs that at the end of the struggle the believers will prevail and victorious. (See verse no. 14).

In fact, one important thing that the believers must hold is hope in their hearts dearly. That is because faith itself is equivalent to hope and optimism.

As long as we have faith, we have hope that we will prevail. Even if we don’t see that in this temporary world, we will surely see it in Akhirah Insha Allah….

NYC Subway, 9 July 2021

* Imam Shamsi Ali Director of Jamaica Muslim Center/President of Nusantara Foundation

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