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Islamic Society ( 25 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why Should Muslims Have a Communal Approach to Social Service, When God Raised Them for Overall Good and Welfare of Entire Humanity?

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

26 March 2022

Muslims Lack The Philanthropic Zeal Of The Christians And Sikhs. This Despite What God Told Them In Quran: "You Are The Best Community Ever Raised For The Welfare Of The Mankind (Linnaas)" (Aal-E-Imran, 3: 110)

Main Points

1.    Muslim NGOs mainly work for Muslims, though during Covid some Muslim groups had helped and a few mosques had opened their doors for the needy, providing them free services. But it was nothing compared with what the small minority of Sikhs had done with their oxygen Langars, among other things, like opening full-fledged hospitals.

2.    Langars are not found in Muslim society.

3.    Muslims have little interest in secular social work.

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Once the Bengali poet Qazi Nazrul Islam lamented the communal mentality of Muslims even in the matters of social welfare programmes. He had wondered why the Muslims added the prefix 'Islamia' even to the names of institutions devoted to social welfare like hospitals and name them Islamia hospital. He guessed that if someday these people contract Tuberculosis, they will say, "I am suffering from Islamia TB".

God says the Muslims, “You are the best community ever raised for the welfare of the mankind (linnaas); you encourage good and forbid evil and believe in Allah"(Quran 3: 110 Aal-e-Imran)

God raised Muslims for the overall good and welfare of the entire humanity, not only for the Muslims. And because of this, God declares them the best people ever raised on earth. Spreading good does not entail only doing good to the Muslims but to all irrespective of caste, creed and religion. God says in the Quran that He will take care of those too who do not believe in Him in the world and so He wants Muslims to have the same approach to the people of the world.

The Muslims are told to engage in social welfare and philanthropic activities apart from having faith in one God. Their social or religious duty does not end at just having faith in one God and offering five times prayers and observing fasting during Ramadan. They have been entrusted with a bigger task of working for the welfare of the poor, needy, destitute and the sick of the world. And whenever the Quran speaks of the welfare of the needy, it does it with a secular approach.

It asks Muslims to do social work not on individual basis but in an organised manner and on a collective level. For example, the Quran enjoins Muslims not only to feed the needy and the hungry on individual level but also enjoins Muslims to encourage other Muslims to feed the hungry.

"What put you into saqar. They will say, we were not of those who prayed nor did we use to feed the poor."(Al Mudaththir: 43-45)

"He is the one who repulses the orphan and does not encourage the feeding the poor."(Al Maun: 2-3)

Feeding the hungry has also been stressed in Sual Al Balad, Al Fajr and Al Mursalat of the Holy Quran.

This way feeding the poor becomes a collective responsibility of the Muslim society. This necessitates the setting up of hospitals or Langars (charitable eateries) in every town or locality. These Langars would not be restricted to Muslims alone but would be open to the people of all religions and even to those who do not believe in any religion. But such Langars are not found in Muslim societies. They are instead found among Sikhs and Hindus.

Other organisation that is suggested in the Quran is the shelter for the wayfarers or travellers. The Quran time and again stresses on extending help to the traveller.

"Therefore, give to the near of kin, and to the needy and to the wayfarer. "(Quran, Surah Ar Rum: 38)

This necessitates the setting up of traveller shelters in every locality or town for the people of all the community. Though Musafir Khanas are found in many towns and cities, they do not fulfil the criteria set by the Quran: they demand payment by the guest and have limited rooms. They are restricted to Muslims and are called Islamia Musafirkhana or Muslim Musafirkhana. In self-proclaimed Islamic countries, Musarfir Khanas, hospitals, Langars and orphanages should be funded and managed by the government. In non-Muslim countries, big social organisations should take up these responsibilities. But in Muslim societies, the stress on secular social work is not much and therefore, big NGOs are few and those which work for the needy do not have resources and so work on a limited level.

The Quran also enjoins on Muslims to take care of orphans. This has been stressed in surah Al-e-Imran and other surahs. Though orphanages are found in many towns and cities they are run with limited resources and are restricted to Muslims and are generally called Islamia Yateemkhana.

In short, Muslims don’t possess the missionary zeal of the Christians who are known for their social work and philanthropic zeal. They provide medical assistance to the needy worldwide and thousands of world level organisations have been active providing help and relief to the destitute both Muslims and non-Muslims. Mother Teresa, a Christian woman won the Nobel Prize for her social work under her organisation Missionaries of Charity. Christians are known worldwide for their social work the Quran also praises Christians for their virtue of compassion.

"We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy."(57:27)

The Muslims take less interest in the welfare work that involves all the religions because they have been made to believe that only serving or helping the Muslims earns them reward in the Hereafter. This mentality prevented them from reaching out to other communities and creating an image of a community having a universal outlook. Very few organisations like the Edhi Foundation of Pakistan exist in Muslim countries.

On the contrary, Muslims harbour doubts and suspicion about the objective of Christian organisations active in Muslim countries. In Afghanistan, the ISIS attacked maternity clinics run by western Christian organisations killing pregnant Muslim women and new born babies and forced their exit.

The Quran stresses on mercy and compassion and advises Muslims to show mercy and compassion to all. And this can be truly demonstrated through a universal approach to service to the mankind which unfortunately lacks among the Muslims today.

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S. Arshad is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/muslims-communal-approach-social-service-/d/126654

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