Page 31 - Islam In Focus

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This is how fundamental and dominant the theme of peace is in Islam. The individual
who approaches God through Islam cannot fail to be at peace with God, with himself,
and with his fellow men. Taking all these values together, putting man in his proper
place in the cosmos, and viewing life in the Islamic perspective, men of good regain
human dignity, to achieve equality, to enjoy universal brotherhood, and to build a
lasting peace.
The Concept of Community
The word community has acquired certain connotations, some of which are romantic
and nostalgic, some derogatory and reactionist. But since we intend to deal with the
basics, we shall confine our discussion to the most fundamental meanings of the word
In one basic sense, the concept community means “ all forms of relationship that are
characterized by a high degree of personal intimacy, emotional depth, moral is
commitment, social cohesion, and continuity in time ….. It may be found in …..
locality, religion, nation, race, occupation, or (common cause). Its archetype ….. is
the family” (Robert Nisbet, The Sociological Tradition - New York: Basic Books,
1996, pp. 47-48)
In another basic sense, a community is a comprehensive group with two chief
characteristics: (1) it is a group within which the individual can have most of the
activities and experiences that are important to him. (2) The group is bound together
by a shared sense of belonging and a feeling of identity (L. Broom & P. Selznick,
Sociology: A Text with Adapted Readings New York: Harper & Rowe, 1968, p.31).
The Historical master trend has been a movement from those intimate, deep, moral
relationships of community to those impersonal, formal utilitarian relationships of
mass society. The movement has been designated by different phases and marked by
far-reaching consequences.
From this historical trend, one can infer certain conclusions. First, this historical
evolution has not been totally negative or completely positive and constructive. Both
negative and positive consequences have affected different people in different
degrees. Secondly, modern society is far from perfect, there is a great task yet to be
performed. Thirdly, the human condition is not a lost cause or a hopeless case. True,
there are crises and travail, but the situation is not entirely out of control. Finally,
mankind has grown more interdependent and human societies more intertwined.
Whatever happens in one segment of society is bound to affect the rest. We should
keep this in mind when we discuss the Islamic concept of community
It should be generally correct to state that the Islamic concept of community has
certain unique characteristics. Such unique characteristics relate to the foundation or
basis of the community, its historic mission and purpose, its status among other
communities, its identity, and its continuity.
The community in Islam is not founded on race, nationality, locality, occupation,
kinship, or special interests. It does not take its name after the name of a leader or a
founder or an event. It transcends national borders and political boundaries. The