There are several verses in the Qur’an that relate to us of believers as the guardians of one another. The following is one of them:
And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, and establish prayer and pay alms, and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba: 71)
The word “guardian” means intimate, protector, helper and supporter. In this sense, believers, honest, sincere and conscientious people with high moral values, should support each other, and be helpers and protectors of one another. Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) also stated this in his following saying:
A believer is a mirror to another believer. A believer is a brother to another believer. He saves him from losses. He safeguards his interests in his absence. (Hadith of Abu Dawud, On the Authority of Abu Hurayrah)
The stories related in the Qur’an about the prophets provide many examples about this practice. Moses, for instance, killed a man by mistake when he sided with a man who was in trouble. Then, he had to run away from the city to save himself from the cruelty of the Pharaoh and the leaders of the city. This is related in the verses as follows:
A man came running from the furthest part of the city, saying, ‘Moses, the Council are conspiring to kill you, so leave! I am someone who brings you good advice.’ So he left there fearful and on his guard, saying, ‘My Lord, rescue me from the people of the wrongdoers!’ (Surat al-Qasas: 20-21)
The Prophet Moses (as) managed to leave the city through a man who helped him as a favour to him. He then reached a watering place in the land of Madyan and helped two women who kept back their flocks because they did not want to mix with the shepherds near the water. Upon their return home, the women mentioned to their father, the Prophet Shu’ayb (as), the help Moses had offered them. Upon this, Prophet Shu’ayb (as) invited prophet Moses to his home. This is revealed in the verses as follows:
One of them came walking shyly up to him and said, ‘My father invites you so that he can pay you your wage for drawing water for us.’ When he came to him and told him the whole story he said, ‘Have no fear, you have escaped from wrongdoing people.’ (Surat al-Qasas: 25)
Because Prophet Shu’ayb (as) recognized the inherent goodness and trustworthiness of the Prophet Moses (as), he helped him in his difficult time and allowed him to stay in his household and to work for him. Shu’ayb’s manner sets an example for the good in protecting and guarding other good people who encounter hardship. Unless the good offer help and support to one another in times of adversity, then they will leave each another alone and unable to defend themselves against the cruel people. In a verse of the Qur’an, Allah commanded our Prophet (pbuh):
“…take the believers who follow you under your wing” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’: 215).
Taking believers under one’s wing, protecting them against dangers and difficulties is a command of our Lord, and also a Sunnah of our Prophet to follow.
Unity, cooperation, solidarity, friendship, self-sacrifice, support, and similar other qualities are some of the beautiful attributes which are the underlying foundation of the Qur’anic morality. This is stated in many sayings of Our Prophet (pbuh). One of them reads:
‘Believers are like the different parts of a building, each one supporting the other.’ Then he demonstrated what he meant by interlocking his fingers. (Hadith of Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The religion of Islam ensures the establishment of a better world where there is love, peace, tolerance and understanding to one another. Societies possessing these features experience rapid development and achieve greater power. Once unity and cooperation are attained, individuals of such a society could channel their strength and energy towards goodness and good deeds rather than into disputes, fights, conflicts and wars. Essentially, a cause to which people commit themselves and devote all their effort, power, zeal and support, both material and spiritual, results in an ultimate success and beauty. What is more important is that Allah gives glad tidings that individuals working in unity and solidarity for good will receive Allah’s help, support and power. In the Qur’an He says:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. ‘They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.’ Any who are disbelieving after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)