I once defined Islam as a Network of Social Relations. That was a long time ago. But passage of time has not dimmed that fact.
If anything, more true today than ever before. Generally, the nature of things Islamic.
For, what Islam teaches stands the test of time -- and place. That means what was true a thousand years ago, will still be true today.
And what is true in one part of the world will also be everywhere else.
Qur'an is clear on it. And the Hadith is clear on it.
Social Relations? Of course! Along with everything else that Islam is. For, the Wonders of Islam never cease. And the Count of Allah's Blessings never ends.
Wa In Ta'uddoo Nia'matallahi Laa Tuhsoohaa.
It is like counting the stars in a cloudless sky. Every time you think you had the count down -- as if! -- a whole new set of stars swims up before you out of nowhere.
So, Islam is This, That and Everything Else that is most wonderful and beneficial. To Humanity and to the Entire Planet.
Islam then is Justice. It is Truth. It is Human Equality and Human Dignity.
And Islam is a World and a Humanity free from all kinds of Exploitation, Abuse, Tyranny -- and Zulm.
And Islam is the perfect and tested Recipe for Prosperity, Health, Wealth and Wellbeing for All.
Islam not only propounds and preaches these Social, Economic and Political Wonders, Islam in fact has a highly impressive Track Record of having delivered on each one of those fronts. As perhaps no other system of thought or action, belief or behavior, would appear to have done throughout history.
And yet at the bottom of each one of these Great Islamic Wonders lies the bedrock of Social Relations: How Human Beings Treat Their Fellow Human Beings.
For, it is the Human Being who is the Central Focus of the Islamic Scheme of Things on Planet Earth.
For, according to the Qur'an, Human Life on Earth begins with God Almighty appointing the Human Being as his own Personal Representative or Vicegerent on Earth.
Innee Jaa-ilun Fil-Ardi Khalifah.
So, where is the wonder then if all things in the universe were designed to be subservient to Human Needs?
Wa Sakh-Khara Lakum Maa Fis-Samaawaati Wa Maa Fil-Ard.
The simple lesson is: This is how God Almighty treats Human Beings.
And the question then is: How should Human Beings themselves treat one another?
From this point of view, Islam is an elaborate and detailed treatise on how people should treat people.
And at the top of the heap are Muslims.
For, Muslims are the ones who consciously and voluntarily accepted the Mandate of Human Vicegerency of God on Earth, which is also part of the inherent design of every Human Being.
But Muslims were the ones who were true to their Contract with God, when they declared, each one of them individually and separately, that their True and Only Master was God.
Laa Ilaha Illallah!
And they committed themselves to do everything in their lives in keeping with the Model Set Up by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And what did Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, do? He did two things:
a) First, he explained in broad theoretical terms what it was that people were supposed to do in their Mutual Relations with One Another.
b) Next, he outlined in very specific terms what "Operational Procedures" people must follow to carry out the Mandate of his Commandments in their own Personal and Social Lives.
The world never saw anything like this before or since!
So, how should Muslims treat their fellow-Muslims? According to this Hadith Sharif in Sahih Muslim, there are Six Different Things Every Muslim Must Do to Give Their Fellow-Muslims Their Due.
Their Rights, as it were.
Their Haqq, as the Hadith Sharif calls them.
Some of these things are simplicity itself. And some are a bit more demanding and challenging than some others.
And let us not forget that this is only one of several A-Haadeeth (Plural for Hadith).
And, also, let us not forget that these are not General or Gentle Reminders and Admonishments. Nor are they vague "Religious Teachings," as Muslims may want to call them, which Muslims generally do when they want to sweep things under the rug and forget about them.
But, instead, they are a Clear and Unambiguous Prescription of certain Non-Negotiable Rights and Claims that Every Individual Muslim Has Over Every Other Individual Muslim.
You can check this Hadith Sharif in Sahih Muslim. And you should. It is time Muslims started to check out Ahaadeeth for themselves.
I am paraphrasing the Hadith Sharif below:
Every Muslim owes every other Muslim the following Six Things.
- Whenever you meet a Fellow-Muslim, greet him by saying Assalamu Alaikum.
- When a Fellow-Muslim invites you, accept his invitation.
- When a Fellow-Muslim asks you for advice, provide him that advice.
- When a Fellow-Muslim sneezes and says Al-Hamdu Lillah, say Yarhamukallah!
- When a Fellow-Muslim falls ill, visit him and inquire after his health.
- When a Fellow-Muslim dies, follow his Janazah.
Maybe it is time Muslims checked and re-checked their comfort level, their performance and their track-record on these six baby steps in Islam.
And do not forget that nowhere does the Hadith say that this is how Muslims should treat their Friends or Family Members.
The Hadith leaves not a shadow of doubt that this is how Every Muslim is Required and Expected to treat his or her Fellow-Muslims, regardless of whether or not they are their Friends and regardless of whether or not they are their Family Members.