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The Best Ummah

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    The Best Ummah

    You are the best community (Ummah) raised up for (the benefit of) humanity; enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah; and if only the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)
    All praise is due to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the beloved Messenger, Muhammad, the seal of the Prophets, upon his noble family, and upon his righteous companions.
    The history of humanity is the tale of the rise and fall of nations. Great civilizations emerged, conquered, grew weak, and fell at the hands of their enemies. New nations arose to take the place of bygone nations. While the worldly splendor and intellectual innovations of past empires remain as living proofs of the past, the social and moral codes of these nations have inevitably lived their lives and died with the people who formulated them. Social codes and laws have always evolved with human progression and perished with human failure.
    Over 1400 years ago, the revelation of the Qur'an introduced a new set of social codes and laws. To be more precise, the Qur'an introduced human codes and laws that went beyond social and even physical parameters. It introduced the highest moral standards that had ever been known to humanity, so much so that entire nations willingly entered into Al-Islam and adjoined their nations to the growing Islamic state. The history books are filled with accounts of the Muslim armies entering Spain and the people literally welcoming them with open arms because they knew the Muslims would deliver the people from their tyrant ruler.
    Through difficult historical periods, the Muslim Ummah survived despite changes in philosophies and developments in science (ilm) and jurisprudence (fiqh). Eventually, like all nations, the Islamic nation crumbled beneath the horizon, and the empire that once stretched from Spain to China was no more. It seemed inevitable that, like the social codes and laws of previous nations, the Islamic moral standards and laws would die with the Islamic state. No longer would the call to prayer be heard from minarets. No longer would people gather 5 times a day to pray, fast during Ramadan, or gather in Makkah for the pilgrimage (hajj). The apparent inevitability never came.
    Instead the religion (Deen) continued to spread beyond the western coast of Spain and beyond the eastern coast of China until there was not a nation in the world in which the call to prayer could not be heard, even if it was only from within the walls of a mosque. Despite the absence of physical and political organization, the Muslim nation, the Ummah, maintained its solidarity. The truth of Al-Islam continues to spread despite opposition towards it from outside and within the Ummah itself. It would seem that the more it is attacked, the stronger it becomes. Instead of the ideals and codes of Islamic law becoming old and useless, they have been revived in even purer forms than 300 years ago.
    This is the promise of Allah, and the promise of Allah is always true. When Allah deputed the last Prophet, Muhammed (upon whom be the peace and blessings of Allah), a seal was set upon the Prophethood. No new Prophet would come and no new message would be sent. He, Most Exalted and Glorified, made the Ummah of Muhammed to be the best Ummah no matter what difficulty it faced. So long as Muslims adhere to the truth of the Message (the Qur'an) and the example of the Messenger (the Sunnah), we will continue to be the best of people even in our worst state.
    Since its revelation, the Qur'an, and the Muslims who adhere to it have benefited humanity immeasurably. The moral, social, political, scientific, and spiritual achievements that have come as a result of the spread of Al-Islam are too numerous to name (and we have listed them previously). Allah says in the Qur'an:
    It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (6:165)
    Allah has given the Ummah a plethora of talented individuals who, over the years have served the interests of humanity and have literally changed the world for the good of all creatures. Allah not only made Muslims to excel in all fields but also made the Muslim Ummah to be an example of human excellence for all of humanity to follow. Al-Islam was not a religion that allowed its people to sit quietly in mosques praying while human beings suffer and the world cries from influential people to establish justice. Muslims are to be these people who not only live and establish excellent moral behavior, intellectual advancements, and spiritual purification but also serve as examples and witnesses for the other people of the world and also the nations that came before them.
    Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced. That you might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which you were used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (from the Faith). Indeed it was (a change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah make your faith of no effect, for Allah is to all people most surely full of Kindness, Most Merciful. (2:143)
    This legacy of human excellence is now in danger of being lost. Allah says:
    Your Lord is Self-Sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were His will, He could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom He will as your successors, even as He raised you up from the seed of another people. (6:133)
    Allah has warned us that, just as he replaced previous nations with our Ummah, so too could He replace us if we disobey Him and turn away from Al-Islam. Everyday Muslims are becoming more content with minor worldly success and less focused on serving the good of humanity. Self interests have taken precedence over the good of the Muslim Ummah. Is it not a lesson to us that Allah said, "if only the People of the Book had believed..." The People of the Book (those who received revelation before us) were given the same opportunities to benefit humanity. Instead they got involved in recklessness, turned away from their Message and became agents of greed and political domination. What remains are only their descendants who have little knowledge of their own religion and little footing on which to stand. So, Allah said of them, "among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors."
    Mankind was one single ummah. And Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace guided the Believers to the Truth, concerning what wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom He will to a path that is straight. (2:213)
    Muslims must avoid the traps into which the People of the Book have fallen and continue on the path of righteousness despite the few number of people who walk it. Allah granted Muhammed with a mission to be a Mercy to humanity. This Ummah was entrusted to carry on this mission until the Day of Judgment. We have with us the Book, unaltered and unaged in its message. No other Ummah before this one holds such a Book about which all Muslims agree. There is no dispute over this Book. Even those who oppose Al-Islam have been unable to successful attack this Book. It is the best Book from the best of Messengers, and you are the best Ummah. Arise and fulfill your mission, the mission of the Prophets, the mission decreed by Allah.
    "Let there arise out of you an Ummah inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones who shall be successful." (3:104)
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