Community Revisited

Having a group of people with the same religious beliefs that you congregate with regularly, it turns out, plays a part in your mental well being. When talking about protective factors to a person’s mental well being, one of the items listed is having a congregation that the person can go to and get support from. In submission we refer to our various congregations as communities, but they all serve the same purpose.

I’ve said it before that having a community or congregation is a gift and a blessing from God. Through your congregation you are able to get support, encouragement, understanding, and even a sense of stability and consistency when everything else in your life seems shaky. This may be why throughout all the revelations sent down to us from God and the rites given to us by God, He has consistently encouraged us to observe and hasten to our congregational prayers and to force ourselves to be with those who believe.

[62:9] O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu’ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of GOD, and drop all business. This is better for you, if you only knew.
[18:28] You shall force yourself to be with those who worship their Lord day and night, seeking Him alone. Do not turn your eyes away from them, seeking the vanities of this world. Nor shall you obey one whose heart we rendered oblivious to our message; one who pursues his own desires, and whose priorities are confused.

But as God tells us Satan is our worst enemy and will always try to drive a wedge among the believers and divide them in any way possible. Sometimes it may be obvious, but most times it is a slow and subtle process that escapes notice until some damage has been done.

As humans we are susceptible to countless distractions that come with this life: work, children, school, TV, sickness (getting sick ourselves or perhaps taking care of a sick relative(s)), family life and responsibilities, stress, finding or holding on to relationships – and the list goes on. Living day by day can be a distraction on its own. So it’s extremely easy for Satan to pick any tool he wants to distract us with in order to divide a community. Members can have disagreements and fight; people grow distant from each other or the congregation; people become too busy and distracted by life, or any number of seemingly valid reasons for removing or distancing oneself from the community.

[17:53] Tell My servants to treat each other in the best possible manner, for the devil will always try to drive a wedge among them. Surely, the devil is man’s most ardent enemy.
[35:6] The devil is your enemy, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be the dwellers of Hell.
[43:62] Let not the devil repel you; he is your most ardent enemy.

If the congregation or community is large, then these may be experienced more on a personal level where the members waver in between joining the group on some days and not joining on others. If the community is small then these distractions can lead to stagnation, regression, and even the dispersal of the community as a whole. Should this happen then Satan will not only have succeeded in distracting and driving a wedge between the members of the community, but also in removing a point of support, stability, and encouragement from the lives of the people of that community. That is why it is important for the members of a community to hold fast to one another and hold fast to God; to make every effort to stay united, and care about one another. This is especially important when there are so many distractions, and we feel so overwhelmed that interacting with the community feels like an “extracurricular” activity for which there is no time.

[3:103] You shall hold fast to the rope of GOD, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall GOD’s blessings upon you-you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you therefrom. GOD thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided.
[22:78] You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion-the religion of your father Abraham. …Therefore, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and hold fast to GOD; He is your Lord, the best Lord and the best Supporter.

We are each other’s support. We are each other’s encouragement. We are each other’s stability So let’s make every attempt to be there for each other, and be there for ourselves. Do not let Satan distract and divide us.

[7:17] “I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative.”

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