First, let’s praise to Allah, for all His favors and gifts. There is no time running unless we feel the pleasure and love of Allah which is continuously flowing in every step of our lives. And time to time, the favors are adding and increasing, the favors of one is always followed by other favors, without we can count the amount.
As He said: “Wa in ta’udduu ni’mata laa tuhshuuhaa” (If you were asked to count how many of God’s favors and blessings, surely you will never be able to count them).
The blessings and greetings may also remain devoted to the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and greetings may also among his family and companions, and all of his followers until the end of the Day, may we are in the group.
Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah said, “There are two favors, favors muthlaqoh (absolute) and favors muqoyyadah (relative). Muthlaqoh favors are favors that lead to eternal happiness, namely hidayah to Islam and the faith. It is this pleasure that God commands us to ask for in our prayers, so that Allah shows us the way of the people whom Allah has blessed him with. ”
The true pleasure is when Allah Ta’ala gives guidance to us so that we can know Tauhid, and then can distinguish from its opponents, namely shirik, and we can stay away from it. We can recognize and distinguish which one is Sunnah and what is Bid’ah. Allah gives us the ability to follow the sunnahs of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alahi wa sallam, and can stay away from bid’ah and avoid them as far as possible.
We can also know and distinguish, which one is includes obedience to Allah and His Messenger, and which are immoral? Allah gives us power to obey and gives us the ability to stay away from immorality.
On the contrary, a relative favor is a favor which are given to all people such as: wealth, position, including a healthy body. Those all becomes a test, whether we can thanks to Allah by using all of them for worship, or we will forget the One Who gives Favors, committed bad deeds, immorality, doing syirik and bid’ah.
In our surroundings, there are people who are given pleasure in the form of wealth, instead, he uses it for having fun and satisfies the lust. Many people who have a high position in society, instead he commit wrong doing to others. He has a healthy body, but they do stealing, committing adultery, committing crimes, and committing other disobedience so that he is further away from remembering Allah.
In the Quran, Allah uses two word to mention the pleasure, those are “Alaa” In surah Ar-Rahman, and “Nikmah” in surah An-Nahl. So what’s the difference between “Alaa” and “Nikmah”.
فَبِأَىِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
(So which of your Lord’s favors did you lie about? (QS Ar-Rahman).
وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ
(And if you count the blessings of Allah, surely you cannot determine the amount). Surat An-Nahl Paragraph 18.
Imaam Yakhsyallah Mansur explained “Alaa” ‘it is all gifts, gifts from Allah. While favors are gifts from God that are used for worship. The treasure is alaa, but if those are used for worship, then the treasure becomes nikmah. But if the treasure are used for immorality, So those are not called nikmah, but becomes a punishment. A high Position if it is used for worship, benefit others, make others happy, then it becomes a nikmat. However, if the position is used to oppress other people, then he becomes an accusation.
The Beauty of Congregation
Humans living in this world have two roles, as individual beings, and social beings. As social beings, no human being can afford their own lives. No one can meet their own needs. He needs other people, they need partners, and Islam also prescribes to humans in several whorship to be together. Fardhu prayer services for example, it is better to be done in congregation. Fasting, Hajj, Zakat, and other commands are should be done in congregation.
The Prophet Adam alaihis salam was revealed to earth, he was accompanied by his wife, Eve. Likewise Prophet Ibrahim lived accompanied by his wives and two sons, Ismail, and Ishaq. Prophet Musa peace be upon him when he was sent to be a prophet, he was also accompanied by his brother, Aaron. Prophet Isa Peace be upon him was always accompanied by his loyal followers, known as Hawariyun.
Rasulullah Shallalahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam said “Two are better than alone, three are better than two, four are better than three, then you should stay together in congregation, because surely Allah will not gather my ummah except for a guidance.” (Narrated by Ahmad).
In a story told, one time Amirul Mukminin Umar bin Khaththab radhiyallahu ‘anhu in one of the contents of his sermon once said:
“Who among you wants the pleasure of heaven, let him always commit to the Jama’ah.”
On another occasion, Umar also said: “There is no Islam without jamaah, there is no Jama’ah without Imamah (leadership), there is no leadership without obidience and there is no obidience without baiat (submission)”.
Portraits of Congregational Life in Prophet’s Era
Islam comes into the world at a time when people live in a complete darkness, disintegration, indeterminate direction of life, the wheels spin without anyone controll. At the same time, morals and characters degenerate at the worst basic level, this is all due to the absence of light from Allah, namely Islam which is bound in the frame of Jama’ah.
Islam and jama’ah are two inseparable words, because these two words complementing each other, as Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala has ordered humans to always live in congregation, not to be divided (split).
Allah says in Surah Ali-Imran verse 103:
وَٱعۡتَصِمُواْ بِحَبۡلِ ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعً۬ا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواْۚ
“And hold fast to the ropes of Allah while you are in congregation and do not engage in firqah …”
According to Al-Hafidz Imam Al-Qurthuby when interpreting this verse, he said, what is meant by “Jami’an” in the verse is live together, united (in congregation). When they are in Jahiliyah era, they did not have any leader, So The Prophet came to them as a leader, to lead them come out from the darkness to the light of Islam. And basically, Rasulullah Shallalahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam was sent to unite ummah, be in one line, one leadership.
In congregation, Islam stands firmly disseminate dakwah to the world with peace. It was proven during the time of the Prophet, the people of Madinah who were at firstly often at war, with the rule of Islam, they became a peaceful society. The Prophet became Imaam and the companions became makmum, while those who have not yet accepted Islam, they agreed in an agreement, namely Medina Charter.
The Medina Charter regulates the procedures for religious life, regulating the relationship between Muslims and Jews and other tribes so that they can live peacefully, and safely.
The beauty of Islam was also running well until the passed away of the Prophet. Few days after the passed away, Abu Bakr was elected as Amiirul Mukminin, leading the Ummah to always obey the Sharia. Likewise after his passed away, Umar was appointed to run the estafet of the leadership. After Umar, continued to Uthman and Ali bin Abi Talib. The leadership of the four companions became the best portrait of the congregational life which the called as Khilafah ala Minhajin Nubuwah.
And the leadership in the form of Caliphate was going on until the Caliph of the Ottoman in Turkey (former: Constantinople). The Islamic community still has a central leadership, even though the (manhaj) system has changed into a kingdom.
However, when the life in congregation began to be abandoned, Islam gradually fell down to its lowest point and was ultimately harassed by unbelievers. Look at this time, in Palestine, they suffered for decades, and no one was able to help them. Muslims in Rohingya were killed by women were raped, they were persecuted, but no parties were able to do anything to stop it. Muslims in Xinjiang have the same fate, but no one is able to advocate them. That is the portrait of Muslims nowadays who do not have leadership, so they are persecuted and no one is able to save.
Facing these problems, Muslims must practicing Islam in a complete way (kaffah), united in one congregation, one leadership, building awareness of the people to return to the Qur’an and Al-Hadith although it must be obtained by pioneering and whimpering.
Because the Jama’ah and unity is the way out to dealing with various problems in society, the obligation to live in congregation must remain attached to every Muslim, especially those who are living in minority, countries which is led by a non-Muslim figure.
If the Muslims do not congregate, then their potential and strength cannot be explored maximally. Although many people are righteous among them, but all are like small boats that are easily hit by waves and storms in the ocean. They are just a small things if not gathered in a large container, in one Jama’ah.
Maybe there are many great people among them, but the greatness is like a sand that will fly any time when a storm comes. A lot of potential is stored in individual Muslims, but all of them scattered, not united in one jamaah.
The path of resurrection of Muslim Ummah as predicted by the Prophet Muhammad sallalahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam must be started from now. The way to do is to gather the ummah in a congregation, a leadership, unite them in the tangle of love, and ukhuwah Islamiyah, make the Islamic Ummah live in harmony. Thus, the strength must be coordinated, their potential should be channeled, the Islamic Ummah will become a force that is respected by friends and feared by enemies if they are in one jamaah. It is not because of their large numbers, but because of unity that makes them a perfect force as in the era of the prophet and companions, respected by friends, feared by enemies not because of their numbers but because of their obedience and togetherness.
Jama’ah is the way of uniting Muslim ummah. The vision and mission and the goal of Muslim are same, that is to worshiping and fighting according to what is practiced by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. The goal is only one, namely the blessing and Allah’s help, not because of personal, and group interests, nor to achieve worldly life.
Islam strongly emphasizes the importance of congregation. Because life in this world is like sailing off the ocean. The rolling waves are able to carry anyone and anything in the middle of the ocean. So, in congregation is like a large ship that can accommodate many people to sail to achieve the same goal, namely the establishment of Islam on this earth.
What makes you choose your own way, while Islam explicitly demands you to be in the ranks of jama’ah. Because Islam is not order just a matter of being a good person, but also inviting people who are already good to make others good as well, and changing the world for the better.
And how can we realize when we are standing at the weakest point, but no one reminds and awakens us to reach back to the highest level. So, stay standing in the line, holding on Jama’ah tightly, and always keep istiqamah in the congregation.
Only people who are sincere in their hearts, any the one who want the pleasure and help just from Allah, they are willing to unite in one congregation, one leadership in accordance with the instructions of the Quran and Sunnah. (A/Sj/P2/R04)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)