How to foster community growth in multi-religious settings
By divine design, human beings are to live together as members of a community, town, city, state, country and the universe at the large. And the emphasis should be how to grow and develop one’s area of habitation irrespective of one’s ethnic and religious background.
In fact, Islam attaches great importance to the concept of community development as Muslims are enjoined to integrate fully into social system to generate solution to common problems.
During the 40th monthly lecture organized by Akeredolu Muslim Community, Agbado-Oke-Aro LCDA, Ogun State, the guest speaker, Sheikh Mujtabah Adeleke described the role of Muslims in community development as a collective duty that must be fulfilled.
He said, for a Muslim to participate in community development, such person must have sound knowledge of the Quran and the saying of the prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“In a community, a Muslim is expected to mirror the beauty of Islam. Allah creates us male and female and make us into family to know one another, severing family ties is a great sin in the sight of Almighty Allah likewise the community.”
According to him, “the Family constitutes the foundation of a society and on its lies the strength or weakness of its society. If the family institution is weak, the community is also weak, nothing can make up for this weakness.”
Adeleke noted that the role of Muslims in community development is anchored on the fear of Allah; it is the fear of Allah that can improve the moral behavior of a Muslim in the community. “Before you can contribute positively in the community, you must believe in Allah, Angels, holy books, Day of Judgment, Prophet, spends wealth in charity.”
He advice Muslim to restrain from Anger, be good to others, speak to people mildly, be patient, avoid excessive talk, and treats others with justice, pronounce your faith and endeavor to be a good ambassador of Islam in the community.
He said the primary motive of a Muslim in the community is to ensure that the beautiful attribute of Islam is showcase by enjoin what is good and forbidding what is wrong in the community.
Doing what are lawful and righteous deeds are having good morals and treating people with respect, having a purified heart and soul, neither hating others nor being hypocritical, spending whatever you have out of your wealth in the cause of Allah in charity, being offensive to no one, causing no harm to others and respecting other people’s rights, he said.
He urged Muslims to avoid ridicule, hypocrisy, self-centeredness, Anger, hatred in the community. “ In the community you will meet people who will disparage your effort, don’t see them as enemy stopping you from doing justice to them or depriving them of goodness. Have a firm believe that Allah will reward your goodness”.
Imam Alubarika Mosque, Akeredolu, Alhaji Abdul Rahman Bello Olaakewu decried the preponderance of hate speeches and open display of hatred towards community dwellers because of religious differences. To him, such behaviour undermines community development.
” In any community where there is hatred and hate speech is uttered, you can never find love and cordial relationship among people in such community. If we want development in a community, we must avoid hate speeches and promote cordial relationship in the community.”
He urged Muslims to promote cordial relationship in their neighborhood to ensure development in the society.
Bello said the three important pillars needed to nurture community development are identification of potentials; empowerment and participation of Muslims in community chores.
He noted that it is incumbent on every Muslim to participate in community development noting four important elements based on Islamic injunction: solidarity, cooperation, self-sufficient and perfection.
Solidarity “A believer is a brother to another believer, they are like a structure that strengthen one another, any place where believers are not united there will be no development.
Cooperation “relating with one another to ensure development”, Self-sufficient “To achieve self sufficiency, Muslims must not be lazy because Islam frowns at begging. A Muslim must not be a beggar we must all contribute financially to the development of the community” Perfection “ before we can get to the stage of perfection, there must have achieve solidarity, cooperation, self sufficiency before we can get to perfection.
He said before the basic development needs can be met in the community security; water, food and mosque must be available in such community.
“ The first priority among the needs is security because if the security of a particular community is not met, no progress development will be achieve such community, Water is also a very important to ensure development in the community, food is very important, the prophet also encourage agriculture, The mosque, the place of worship is important for learning, intellectual discussion and social activities”.
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