Concern for the Ummah
During the Khilaafah of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), there was a person from Syria who would come to Madinah Munawwarah to meet Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and benefit from him. However, after a period of time, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) noticed that this person had not come to Madinah Munawwarah for some time. Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) became concerned and thus enquired from the people about him. The people replied, “O Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen! He has fallen in the grave sin of drinking wine!”
Hearing this, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) decided to send him a message in which he would conscientize him regarding his deen. Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thus called his scribe and dictated the following message to him which contained the opening verse of Surah Mu’min:
“From Umar, the son of Khattaab, to so-and-so, the son of so-and-so. I greet you with salaam. I commence by praising Allah, the One besides Whom there is no god worthy of worship. Allah is the only One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment, the All-Bountiful (who Bestows His grace and mercy upon His servants). There is no god besides Him. To Him alone is the ultimate return (for all the creation).”
Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) handed over the letter to a messenger and instructed him to personally deliver the letter and ensure that at the time he delivers the letter to him, he is in a sober state. Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then turned to the people who were present in his gathering and said, “Make dua for your brother and sincerely beg Allah Ta‘ala to turn his heart towards deen and bless him with the tawfeeq to make tawbah.”
When the man received the letter of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he began to read it. The message in the letter was so profound and decisive that it had a dynamic effect on his heart. He continued to repeat the verse of the Qur’aan Majeed which described the divine attributes of Allah Ta‘ala, of His all-forgiving nature, as well as His being severe in punishment upon those who transgress the limits of Shari‘ah. Allah Ta‘ala says, “Allah is the only One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment”.
After repeating the verse many times, he began to weep profusely and said, “Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) has warned me of the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala, but at the same time, he has given me hope in the divine and all-encompassing mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, reminding me that Allah Ta‘ala will forgive me if I repent to him.” The man immediately repented to Allah Ta‘ala and made such a firm tawbah that he never went close to wine again.
When Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) learnt of the positive effect the letter had on the heart of the man, he addressed the people present in his gathering and said, “When you see your Muslim brother fall into sin, then you should act in the manner you have seen me conduct, by thinking of ways to guide him towards deen. Similarly, you should conscientize him and give him hope in the mercy of Allah. You should also make dua to Allah for his guidance. Do not deal with him in a way where you will cause him to lose hope in the mercy of Allah, thus becoming an assistant of shaitaan against him.” (Tafseer Ibnu Katheer 7/116 & Tafseer Qurtubi 15/291)
From this incident, we understand the deep concern which Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had for the ummah. It was this deep concern that urged him to write the letter as well as engage in dua, begging Allah Ta‘ala for the guidance of that person. This concern of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was the concern that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had for each and every ummati. Hence, from this, we learn that just as a believer should be concerned about his own progress, similarly, he should also be concerned about the progress of his Muslim brother.
It is reported that Hazrat Salmaan Faarsi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “The example of two believing brothers is like that of two hands; each hand washes the other hand. Never do two believers meet one another except that Allah Ta‘ala causes one of them to benefit and bring goodness to the other.” (Ithaaf-us-Saadah 6/173)
In order for the ummah to gain eternal success, they are commanded to practice upon Islam in totality. Practicing upon Islam in totality will be found when each person upholds the following four injunctions in his life:
(1) to bring Imaan in Allah Ta‘ala, in His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and in all the tenets of faith (2) to uphold all the commandments of Islam and to refrain from all its prohibitions (3) to encourage one another towards upholding Islam in totality and leading lives of righteousness (4) to encourage and assist one another to remain steadfast upon Islam at all times, especially at the time of difficulties and calamities. In Surah Asr, mention is made of these four injunctions being the basis of eternal success for a believer.
May Allah Ta‘ala bless us with the tawfeeq of treading on the path of deen and making an effort to guide others towards deen.