Some special qualities and responsibilities of The Ummah
The Holy Quran considers Islamic community to be so important that Almighty Allah has chosen it and entrusted heavy responsibilities upon it. Although Prophet Ibrahim (a) requested Almighty Allah to create an Islamic Ummah from his progeny:
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِنَآ أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Our Lord! and make us both submissive to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.” (2:128)
He also says:
وَ جَهِدُواْ فِى اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَكُمْ وَ مَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُم فِى الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ اءِبْرَاهِيمَ هُوَ سَمَّكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَ فِى هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَ تَكُونُوا شُهَدَآءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَوةَ وَ ءَاتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا باْللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَولَى وَ نِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
“And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving as is due to Him; He has chosen you and has not laid upon you any hardship in religion; the faith of your father Ibrahim; He named you Muslims before and in this, that the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people; therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper!” (22:78)
Some important points are hinted at in these verses:
1. The coming into existence of the Islamic Ummah was due to the prayers of Prophet Ibrahim (a) and he named them as Muslims.
2. Islamic Ummah is the chosen one of Almighty Allah.
3. Islam is an easy religion and it has no hardship and difficulty.
4. Ummah of Islam would be the witness on the other communities, just as the Messenger of Allah (s) is the witness on Islamic Ummah.
5. Muslims are duty bound to perform Jihad to defend and propagate Islam.
The Holy Quran has mentioned some qualities for the Islamic Ummah and we hint at some of them as follows:
A – Almighty Allah has deemed the Islamic Ummah to be a medium nation, so that it be a witness on other people.
The Holy Quran says:
وَكَذَ لِكَ جَعَلْنَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطاً لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَآءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَ يَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيداً
“And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you…” (2:143)
Most commentators have interpreted ‘wast’ in the meaning of medium and moderate and said: Muslim Ummah is described as ‘a medium nation’ as it has legislated rules and regulations within limits of moderation and is away from excess and shortage. Islam neither calls man to extremism in materialism and sensuality, like apostates and materialists and nor does it calls to monasticism, asceticism, aloofness from worldly affairs and physical penance, as monks and ascetics in Christianity and Buddhism are. Islam has merged together world and hereafter, materialism and spirituality, spiritual and physical success and perfection and work and worship and has created a moderate limit.
There is no doubt that the existence of such a moderate Ummah is the best evidence of its capability with regard to social organization and assuring the success of the world and hereafter of man and it serves as an exemplar to all communities.
On the basis of this, the meaning of the verse becomes as follows: Almighty Allah has deemed you as a medium and moderate community, so that through the means of your moderate deeds you may lay an example of religious moderation in the view of the world and be a witness for others, just as the Messenger of Allah (s) is also a witness over you.
Therefore, Muslims should make efforts that by following the illuminated laws and commandments of Islam they become exemplars to others so that they may also be attracted to Islam.
B – Among other specialties of the Ummah of Islam is inviting others to righteousness, enjoining good and forbidding evil.
Almighty Allah says:
وَلْتَكُنْ مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُوْلَِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful.” (3:104)
He also says:
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah…” (3:110)
In the first verse, it is expected from Muslims that they should make themselves into a powerful nation and perform three important functions:
1. They should invite people to goodness.
2. They should enjoin good deeds.
3. They should forbid evil.
In the second verse also, three things are mentioned as the cause of this superiority:
1. Enjoining good,
2. Forbidding evil,
3. Faith in God.
On the basis of this, three great responsibilities are entrusted to the Islamic Ummah: Invite people to goodness, enjoin good and forbid evil extensively. That is why it is having precedence to all other communities.
Since the Islamic Ummah has accepted this important responsibility it should prepare itself for its fulfillment. It has the duty of calling people to goodness. It should be prepared to forbidding evil, extensively and in every situation. It should defend the rights of the deprived and poor, wherever they might be; it should confront the arrogant, oppressors and unjust. Although fulfillment of this extensive and important mission can be possible only in the instance that Islamic Ummah should be powerful and established in the fields of academics, economics, administration and technology.
C – Another distinctive quality of the Islamic Ummah is that it should be tough with the enemies and kind and flexible with Muslim.
The Holy Quran says:
مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعاً سُجَّداً يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَاناً سِيمَاهُمْ فِى وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ
“Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration…” (48:29)
In the above verse, two distinctive qualities of the Prophet and his companions are hinted at:
1. They do not accept flexibility and lenience before disbelievers and polytheists and in front of their hegemonies and trespassing. They are so equipped and powerful that they do not need conspiracies in order to get an upper hand.
2. However, they are affectionate among themselves. They consider all Muslims of the world to be the components of a single Islamic Ummah. They are happy with prosperity of their Muslim brothers and are aggrieved at their problems and difficulties. They make efforts for progress of Islamic Ummah and to solve social, political and economic problems of the Muslim public.
On the basis of this, Islamic territories should become determined against enemies of Islam and should not accept their force and domination. But there should be good and friendly relations between Muslim countries. They should defend the independence and territorial integrity of each other. They should cooperate with each other in all their occupations, they should avoid factors that create dissension and disunity and they should make the bonds of brotherhood and unity strong.