As-Salamu Alaykum, my dear sister in Islam!
As a self-proclaimed introvert, I always used to pride myself on being able to comfortably spend hours alone in my room.
Social interactions were draining for me and I often found myself avoiding them as much as possible.
But one conversation with a woman I didn’t particularly like changed everything.
I remember reluctantly sitting with her, thinking it would be just another awkward conversation.
But as we started talking, I found myself opening up and sharing things I never thought I would.
I was extremely depressed and I needed to get things off my chest.
And to my surprise, she reciprocated and shared her own struggles with me, which were extremely similar to mine.
After that, eventhough my problems didn’t disappear, I still felt so much better than I ever thought possible.
It was like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
In that moment, I realized the power of connection and communication.
It’s not just about getting things off your chest and feeling better. No, it’s so much more than that…
So let’s explore the secret wisdom behind Islam’s emphasis on community and how we can benefit from it in our daily lives…
The Dangers of Loneliness
When you’re alone, you’re not actually “alone”.
You have a terrible creature with you, called “Satan” who keeps whispering bad things, reminding you of every bad memory, and making you analyze every interaction you ever had with others.
He is the reason for your depression, your self-hatred, your doubts, your insecurities, and even some of your physical illnesses!
He’s constantly working to bring you down.
But when you have someone to talk to, someone who understands and supports you, that creature becomes quieter, weaker, powerless.
This is why Islam focuses so much on community and emphasizes human connection.
Most worship actions in Islam are done in groups or for others in the society.
And Allah loves those who care for others and support and uplift each other in times of need.
“You see the believers in their compassion, love, and sympathy, like the body. If one organ is affected, the rest of its body responds with sleeplessness and fever.”Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Source: Sahih Al-Bukhari: 6011, Narrator: An-Numan bin Bashir
I never paid much attention to this hadith until that conversation with that woman, when I truly experienced its truth.
It’s only recently that modern doctors and therapists realized that the best way to lift depression, get rid of addictions, and even heal physical illnesses is by human connection.
But Islam told us all that more than 14 centuries ago…
Do we really need other people?
You might find it undesirable to ask others for help and not seek it from Allah only.
You might say “I’ll just focus more on worshipping God and ask Allah for what I need. I don’t need people to make me feel better!”
But even Allah doesn’t want you to isolate yourself.
He wants you to get rid of bad connections but not all connections.
He wants you to surround yourself with good people who help you distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, and certainly between what you think and what Satan keeps whispering in your heart of suggestions.
So let’s explore a few ways in which Islam encourages community and connection:
How Islam encourages Community
1- In Salah:
The five daily prayers are not only for our individual benefit but by praying together, we strengthen our bond as a community.
Salah is an excellent activity for creating a stronger Muslim community.
The unity of standing in rows, listening to the same recitation, and sharing a peaceful silence can be a bonding experience.
Through Salah, we can feel connected to other members of our community all around us.
Allah could have told us to pray alone at home or at any time of the day we choose, but He didn’t.
He specified places for His worship, and likewise, He specified times for that worship.
All of that so we can know when to leave our daily tasks, gather around, and pray together.
As Muslims, we are encouraged to pray in congregation whenever possible, whether it’s at the mosque or with family and friends.
This brings us closer together as a community and strengthens our spiritual connection with Allah.
Most Muslims think that group prayers are only for men when they are in the mosque, but they got it wrong.
It’s true that women are encouraged to pray at home, but it was never specified in any context that they should pray alone.
They can pray with their children, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers.
Muslim women of the past used to do that for every prayer, whenever possible.
So why shouldn’t you?
Gather around your home occupants, your neighbors, or even your children and pray together ♡
2- In Siyam:
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink, but it’s also about connecting with Allah and our community.
During Ramadan, Muslims forge connections with one another through the shared experiences of hunger and thirst.
They come together for Iftar gatherings, where they break their fasts collectively, thus strengthening the ties of brotherhood and sisterhood.
Fasting also teaches us patience, self-control, and empathy towards those who are in need.
These qualities are essential for building strong connections with others.
Because how can you ever watch a hungry or a thirsty person without helping them after what you experienced with Siyam?
3- In Charity:
Islam emphasizes the importance of giving to those in need and taking care of each other.
This requires you to get to know people and understand them enough to find out who needs what.
And that builds strong connections and empathy within any society.
The act of providing for others in need is praised in Islam, and sometimes it’s obligatory.
Through charitable work and volunteering, we can support and learn from individuals in our community in a profound way.
This isn’t limited to donating money only, but it includes various activities such as donating to food banks, participating in blood donations, and even cleaning up streets and removing harmful trash from others’ way.
Islam encourages us to always be on the lookout for ways to give back and create a closer community.
4- In Hajj:
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is a major pillar of Islam and it brings millions of Muslims from all over the world together.
This experience fosters a sense of unity and brotherhood among the pilgrims, regardless of their race or social status.
It also serves as a reminder that we are all equal in the eyes of Allah, reinforcing the idea of community and connection.
5- In Celebrations:
As Muslims, we celebrate various holidays that are important to our faith.
We only have two Eids, but each of them hold a special place in the hearts of Muslims all over the world.
In our Eids, we make an effort to celebrate our holiday as a community.
This includes praying at the mosque for the annual Eid Al-Fiter and Eid ul-Adha, exchanging gifts of food on those occasions, and even praying together.
Every week on Friday, we celebrate a mini-Eid as well.
By celebrating Islamic events, we make an effort to engage with each other and connect on a deeper level.
6- In Relationships:
No other religion or culture emphasizes the importance of maintaining good relationships like Islam does.
Allah says in the Quran:
۞ وَٱعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا۟ بِهِۦ شَيْـًۭٔا ۖ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًۭا وَبِذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلْجَارِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْجَارِ ٱلْجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلْجَنۢبِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالًۭا فَخُورًا ٣٦
“Worship Allah ˹alone˺ and associate none with Him. And be kind to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, near and distant neighbours, close friends, ˹needy˺ travellers, and those ˹bondspeople˺ in your possession. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful—Allah, the Almighty, in the Quran, Surah 4, Verse 36
In Islam, even the word “neighbor” doesn’t just mean “someone who lives next door”, but also all neighbors on each side of your house, your work neighbors, and even anyone who you sits next to in travel.
We are encouraged to check up on others in our society, help them in times of need, and maintain a good relationship with them.
This can be done through small acts of kindness like inviting them over for tea, helping them at their homes, visiting them when they’re sick, or simply not bothering them or talking about them badly behind their backs.
By doing so, we build stronger bonds within our community and create a sense of support and unity.
7- In Halaqah:
Islam encouraged Muslims and Muslimahs to have study and discussion groups even before people started learning what they are.
Quran study groups or as they are called in Arabic “Halaqat” are an excellent way for Muslims to strengthen their bonds and learn about their religion at the same time.
By discussing Islamic wisdom or sharing stories of our experiences in Islam, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other.
Such groups not only help us to learn more about our faith, but also provide us with the opportunity to connect with others and gain a greater sense of community.
This is what we aim to provide to you by launching Bilislam’s platform!
Why Bilislam is a Community-based Platform:
We built Bilislam to be a social learning platform that aims to connect Muslim women from all ver the globe.
It provides a safe and welcoming space for Muslimahs to discuss their faith, share stories, and learn from each other.
By joining Bilislam, you can gain access to social groups and create your own “Halaqat” to study the Quran.
You can join our exclusive programs, join online forum discussions, and even have one-on-one conversations with other sisters.
We need you at Bilislam, sister, and I hope that this article will inspire you to take part in our community and participate in meaningful activities to enrich your spiritual, mental, and physical health.
Let’s continue to work towards creating a more nurturing and holistic Muslimah community for ourselves and future generations.