Mutual support is an inclusive description of many forms of co-operation, solidarity and contribution toward filling the gaps. It is demonstrated by offering help, protection and consolation, until the needs of the distressed are met, the grief of the mourners is removed and the wounds of the injured are healed. It is only when selfishness prevails, the sentiment of brotherhood dies and people become wrapped in their own concerns and personal affairs, that mutual support disappears.
A good example of solidarity was shown by Banu Hashim; the Muslims and non-Muslims among them, all stood together with the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and prevented the Quraysh from killing him. They gave him safe passage to the mountain pass of Abu Talib’s clan, where he was besieged by the rest of the Arabs, who had drafted a pact that they later hung on the Ka’bah, declaring their boycott of him and the Muslims. However, despite their ignorance of Islam, some men of the Quraysh, in the spirit of mutual support, denounced the blockade and remained agitated until the unjust agreement was annulled.
Today, we witness solidarity in all its forms among the people of falsehood, in addition to sympathy for Muslims from some parties that are driven by humanitarian, nationalistic or political concerns. Is this not an extra incentive for us to express our oneness with our own Muslim brothers and sisters?
After all, mutual support can never fail anyone. This is what Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her, believed in; when she wanted to alleviate the fear of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, after he had received the revelation for the first time, she reminded him of his sense of brotherhood that he had been known for all his life, saying: “Never, by Allah, will He ever fail you. You maintain the ties of kinship, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving afflicted ones.”
THOSE MOST WORTHY OF MUTUAL SUPPORT:
A migrant is the worthiest of mutual support, because he or she is away from his or her homeland and people, and is financially constrained. The Ansar (supporters) of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, were a paragon of brotherhood. Some of them asked the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to divide their gardens of palm trees between them and the Muhajirun (emigrants). The Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, refused, so they suggested, “[The emigrants] may do the physical work [in our gardens] and we will share the fruit with you [at least].”
Thus, some Muhajirun did actually do this, thereby solving the crisis of unemployment and poverty.
Another model of their mutual support, was the Ansar bequeathing their property to their brothers from the Muhajirun, and not their relatives; this was due to the bonds of brotherhood that the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had established among them.
This ruling was later abrogated. Yet, undoubtedly, that was an era of pure souls and utter devotion to Allah The Almighty. It proves that the more the feelings of brotherhood and altruism intensify, and selfishness and egoism are uprooted, the more mutual support flourishes, appearing in its best forms.
FORMS OF MUTUAL SUPPORT:
1. SETTLING DEBTS:
One of the most distinct forms of communal cohesion among Muslims, is helping the indebted person repay his or her debt. After the Muslim army’s conquests, when there was a surplus in the treasury of the Muslim state, the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
“I am closer to the believers than their own selves; whoever passes away from among them, leaving behind a debt, I will be responsible for its repayment.”
2. EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES:
Helping slaves obtain their freedom is another type of providing support. For example, Bareerah asked ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with them, to help liberate her from slavery. She, may Allah be pleased with her, consented and said to her:
“If your masters agree, I will offer them the monetary price of your emancipation, and free you from bondage.”
3. PAYING DIYAH (BLOOD MONEY):
Mutual support is also demonstrated by assisting in the payment of the compensation to a murdered person’s family. The murderer’s well-off paternal kinsmen and closest relatives should pay off the Diyah due on him, as he or she may not be able to afford it or will not have anything left if he or she does pay. However, if the paternal relations can or do not offer up the blood money or the convict does not have any relatives, then, for the greater good of the solidarity of the community, the settlement is to be paid out of the Muslim state’s treasury.
4. RELEASING PRISONERS OF WAR:
Another great form of societal support is to pay the price of freeing a Muslim captive. Salamah ibn Al-Akwa’ invaded Hawazin with Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them; the latter presented to the former a very beautiful slave-girl from Banu Fazarah. When the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, met Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him, in Madeenah, he said: “May Allah bless your father! Give me that girl.” He immediately handed her over to the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who ransomed with her many Muslim captives in Makkah.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest examples of altruism and self-sacrifice on the part of Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him.
On another occasion, when Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, arrived at Khaybar with a group of his people, after it had been conquered, the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, persuaded the Muslims to share their war booties with them. [Ahmad]
Indeed, if the souls do not willingly forego such trivial things, they will certainly fail to sacrifice in fields where that is required, such as during battles and dangerous zones.
It was also narrated that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would say:
“I prefer setting one Muslim free from a disbelievers’ prison, to having power over the entire Arabian Peninsula.”
5. TAKING CARE OF WIDOWS AND ORPHANS:
When the mandate of Jihaad (struggle or fighting) results in widows, orphans and disabled persons, ignoring them after their guardians have laid down their lives in the cause of Allah The Almighty, surely does not smack of loyalty. Hence, the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
“The person who looks after the widow or the needy, is like the one who struggles in the way of Allah, or the person who prays all night long and fasts all day long.”
He, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also promised the sponsor of an orphan, his companionship in Paradise.