By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

'You Are the Best Community'

Khutbah at ISOC - Jumada al-Ukhra 17, 1432/ May 20, 2011


كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ... (آل عمران 110)

You are the best community, brought out for mankind; you enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah... (Al 'Imran 3:110)

'You are the best community.' Allah has addressed the Ummah of the Prophet -peace be upon him- with these honorable words. The first people who were addressed by these words were the first generation of Muslims - the Prophet and his Companions (Sahabah). They were the best people ever lived on the face of this earth. There was no community better than them, neither before them nor after them. The Prophet -peace be upon him- called them 'khayr al-qurun.' As Muslims we also hope and desire to be included in this honor. Potentially we are 'the best community,' but we have to struggle to make us actually worthy of this honor. It is important to keep in mind that this honor is not unconditional. It is not that we can do whatever, but we are still 'the best community.' The Qur'an indicates in many places that Allah has not favorite races or nationalities. Those who do good, whatever their race or nationality, they are favored by Allah and those who do evil, whatever their background, they are rejected by Allah. The Qur'an says,

وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ {محمد 38}

If your turn away, He will substitute other people for you and they will not be like you. (Muhammad 47:38)

 In order to be considered as the 'best community' we must fulfill some conditions. The conditions that are mentioned here are four:

First , we must be for the people, meaning for the benefit of all people. The Prophet -peace be upon him- is reported to have said,

عن جابر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم  "خير الناس أنفعهم للناس" (مسند الشهاب 1234)

The best people are those who are most beneficial to other people . (Musnad Shihab. 1234)

Second , we must promote good, do good things and also tell the people to do good things.

Third , we must forbid what is wrong; we must not do wrong and we should try to stop wrong and harmful things.

Fourth , all our work and efforts must be based on faith and devotion to Allah.

This means that we should be actively involved in beneficial deeds and reform of the societies where we live. We should not do any good work for our name and our fame, or for our position or authority, but we must do whatever we do with sincerity for the sake of Allah, only in His name and for His glory.

'You are the best community.' These words are not to create any arrogance in us; they are meant to remind us that those who believe in Allah and do the right things they are the best people, regardless of their races, colors or ethnicity. As long as we continue doing and promoting the right things and removing the wrong things we shall have the honor of being the best community among the people.

            Wherever we live we must uphold this mission and fulfill this role. Under all circumstances we should remain steadfast, without any fear or intimidation and without any anxiety or despair. We should present what is right and prevent what is wrong. But we must keep in mind:

  • This work cannot be done without knowledge and wisdom. The ignorant and unwise people misguide and mislead. They spoil more than they build.
  • This work cannot be done without setting good example. Those who tell the people to do right things, they must be right also and those who tell the people not to do bad things they themselves should not do bad things. Good examples are more effective than mere words and speeches.
  • This work should be done with kindness and care. Anger, harshness, rudeness and violence are contrary to the nature of good works and good actions.
  • This work cannot be done without good relations with all people. People only listen to those whom they like and whom they trust. Those who do this work must be likeable and trustworthy people.

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has given us the best guidance in this matter in the Qur'an. He says,          

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ(30) نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنْفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ(31) نُزُلًا مِنْ غَفُورٍ رَحِيمٍ . (32) وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ(33) وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ(34) وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ(فصلت 30-35)

Indeed those who say, "Our Lord is Allah," and stand straight and steadfast, the angels come down to them (and say), "Have no fear and have no grief, but rejoice in the good news of the Paradise which you have been promised. We are your allies in this world and in the world to come, where you will have everything you desire and ask for, as a welcome gift from the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful."  Who is better in speech than the one who calls (people) to Allah, does what is right, and says, "I am one of those who have submitted (to Allah)?"   Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better and your enemy will become as an old and valued friend. But only those who are steadfast in patience and only those who are blessed with great righteousness will attain to such goodness. (Fussilat 41:30-35)

          In these verses, Allah has given us the assurance of His help in this life and in the Hereafter if we are straight and steadfast. He gives us comfort and tells us that we do not need to be in fear and anxiety. We should rather have the happy news of success and salvation. He tells us that we must continue doing good and inviting people to Allah. And he also tells us that we must not respond to evil with evil. Our response should be good, appropriate and reasonable. In this way we shall be able to change the situation of hate and aggression into the situation of love and peace.

            Here we have three basic principles for action:

  • --list-- Istiqamah : Steadfast life style - Be steadfast in your faith, in your spiritual and moral principles. Be steadfast wherever you are: in your home, business and community.
  • --list-- Da'wah : Invitation of others to Allah and to goodness - Invite humanity to their Creator and Lord with wisdom and good preaching and answer their doubts, objections and criticism in the best possible manner.
  • --list-- Difa' billati hiya ahsan : Repel the evil with good - Defend your faith, your rights, your honor with means that are good, moral, most appropriate and effective. Be not emotional or act in a rash and angry manner, but act with reason and proper judgment.

We must also work together in an organized and disciplined way. There is always strength in unity. United we must stand and united we must move and work. There are many wonderful individuals and organizations that extend their hands of friendship to us and they want to work for the common cause of peace and justice. Some of these are interfaith organizations and some are civic and political. We should increase our involvement with them and become more active. By increasing good will and good actions, we shall succeed and bring success to others.

May Allah help us fulfill our mission and bless us in this life and in the Hereafter!


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
© 2004 . All Rights Reserved.