The Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light

The Ideal Society of God's Messengers

What are the teachings of God’s Messengers that explain how to live in a fair and just society?

Since the beginning of time, God has sent messengers to guide humanity to him and to instruct them on how to live a righteous life. But over the course of history, people have chosen to ignore the instructions given and instead live according to their own desires, rather than accepting to be guided.

This is why today, the world is filled with misery, pain, injustice & grief.

One of the most essential guidelines that the messengers have come with time and time again was the building of divine communities, where the believers try to build a piece of paradise on earth.

A place where everything is shared: Money, property, work and even families.

A place where one believer can put his hand in his brother’s pocket and take what he needs, and the other one does not stop him. 

A place where no one fills his stomach whilst the other one is hungry. Where nobody quenches his thirst whilst the other one is thirsty. Where no one clothes himself while the other one is naked.

How much could the human being learn from living in a place like this?

And what would it mean for a world like ours, where greed, materialism, gluttony & desire have become essential parts of people’s everyday life.

How could the visions of prophets like Yusuf, Plato, Jesus and Prophet Mohammed (pbuhahp) benefit us today in changing this global society that has lost any remnant of a communal spirit?

And when will we finally be able to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity on earth?

Sharing Property

One of the most prominent examples of a divine community, is the community of the apostles, that formed after the death of Jesus (pbuh)

 

In the Acts of the apostles we read:

“42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;

45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

-Acts 2:42-47

After Buddha achieved enlightenment, he returned to the five disciples that had abandoned him before, preaching to them and calling them to follow his path.

In this instance Buddha said to them:

“A man that stands alone, having decided to obey the truth, may be weak and slip back into his old ways. Therefore, stand ye together, assist one another, and strengthen one another’s efforts. Be like unto brothers; one in love, one in holiness, and one in your zeal for the truth. Spread the truth and preach the doctrine in all quarters of the world, so that in the end all living creatures will be citizens of the kingdom of righteousness. This is the holy brotherhood; this is the church, the congregation of the saints of the Buddha; this is the Sangha (community) that establishes a communion among all those who have taken their refuge in the Buddha.”

The 5 disciples accepted his teachings and therefore testified,

“To the community will I look in faith; the community of the Buddha’s disciples instructs us how to lead a life of righteousness; the community of the Buddha’s disciples teaches us how to exercise honesty and justice; the community of the Buddha’s disciples shows us how to practice the truth”.

So community life is one of the central teachings of the Buddha, without which the human being is not able to reach enlightenment.

Community life is a practice in itself – learning to share, tolerating other people’s habits and communicating honestly to resolve differences. 

Even those who consider themselves scientists and non religious have repeatedly admitted that a community that is defined by self sacrifice is able to achieve common goals more efficiently than a community of egoists.

Charles Darwin wrote in his book The Descent of Man:

A tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection.”

In Islam, just like in Buddhism and Christianity, the concept of brotherhood and sharing is essential.

Just like in the times of Buddha and Jesus, Prophet Mohammed also worked hard to establish a divine community.

In 622 AD, Mohammad and his few hundred followers left his hometown and sought refuge in another city called Yathrib. In his hometown he had been threatened and persecuted so he had no choice but to take those who believed in him, leave and start his life anew. The followers that had accompanied Prophet Mohammed had left all their belongings behind when they immigrated. Some of them had even left their families. They were from that moment on called the “Muhajireen” (Emigrants); while the citizens of Yathrib who had welcomed them in their hometown were called “Ansar”.

To integrate the Muhajireen, who had lost everything, into the economic and social life of the city, he made them “brothers” of the locals, the Ansar and he paired them in twos.

Therefore the early Muslim communal life was, just like life in the early Christian communities, characterized by those who had many possessions, sharing with those who were destitute.

Those Ansar that owned businesses made their brothers, that they barely even knew, equal business partners. They shared their houses with them and when an Ansar passed away,  his immigrant brother would be one of his inheritors, together with his relatives.

Several sources also report, that Ansar gave away half of the land they owned to their newly arrived brothers.

According to The Valley Came Alive: Life of The Last Messenger (PBUH)’ by Ibn Katheer, it is reported that the Prophet (pbuhahp) said to the Ansar:

“Your brothers have left wealth and children and have immigrated to you” The Ansar said: “Divide our wealth into portions between us.”

In fact, the unconditional sharing was even commanded through a verse in the Quran,

“But those who, before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the faith, – show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire, in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot).” (Surah 59: Verse 9)

Sharing Family

How beautiful would be a place where everybody considered the other person’s children to be his own? Where everybody feels responsible to sustain and care for his brothers family just like he feels responsible over his own family? 

 

Plato writes in his famous book, Laws:

“The first and highest form of the State and of the government and of the law is that in which there prevails most widely the ancient saying, that “Friends have all things in common.”… this communion of women and children and of property, in which the private and individual is altogether banished from life.”

For Plato, the best community (or state) is one where everybody shares everything.

Where everybody shares “women and children and of property”, meaning where everybody takes care of each others children and each others families.

Nothing is private, meaning nothing belongs to just one person, everybody feels a sense of responsibility for each other (“the private and individual is altogether banished from life”).

Sharing oneself

Now Plato takes the concept even further by saying,

“…and things which are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, and in some way see and hear and act in common, and all men express praise and blame and feel joy and sorrow on the same occasions, …—whether this is possible or not, I say that no man, acting upon any other principle, will ever constitute a state which will be truer or better or more exalted in virtue.”

Plato does not only want properties and families to be shared, but rather he urges people to share their own selves, to give up the very urge of self preservation or distinctness.

In the perfect state that he envisions,  members share their ears when someone needs to be listened to,  and they share their hands if someone needs help. If the self is not considered a private but common good, no one would ever feel burdened by helping out the other, as he does not feel that his body or even his very existence is his own in the first place.  This inner acknowledgement leads to a place where all “see and hear and act in common” as one body, all together, not everyone for themselves and were even happiness and sorrow are not personal but for the sake of the community and others.

This quote of Plato strongly correlates with the teachings of Ahmed Al-Hassan, the messenger and vicegerent of Imam Mahdi (pbuh). He said:

“The believers are brothers and sisters from one soul divided on several bodies. The one who does not feel nor gets pained for his brother is not from us. And the one who does not feel happy for the happiness of his brother is not from us.”

Plato states clearly that without practicing this everyday communal self sacrifice, humans will not be able to create a better society.

The concept of living to serve, support and help one another truly and wholeheartedly is part of building a divine community.

The idea is that the outer change of the living condition causes a profound change inside the human being and makes him face his darkest sides.

Building and being part of a divine community is a way of practicing the ways of the prophets and messengers.

PLATOS REPUBLIC

In The Republic, Socrates seeks to map out the ideal society, a society filled with justice. The focus of Plato’s Republic is the structure of a just society. Socrates saw that you can’t ever make everyone happy but you can do the greatest amount of good for the most people.

Socrates defines justice as:

“Justice is thus a sort of specialization. It is simply the will to fulfill the duties of one’s station and not to meddle with the duties of another station, and its habitation is, therefore, in the mind of every citizen who does his duties in his appointed place.”

And remarkably, his definition lines up exactly with the words of Imam Ahmed Al Hassan, the riser from the family of Muhammad, who said:

“Justice is placing the thing in its correct place.”

Putting everything in its right place. In other words, justice requires each person in the city to mind his own business, doing the particular job that has been allocated to him to the best of his abilities. Socrates claims that operating in this manner will allow the city to thrive, which is in everyone’s best interest. According to Socrates, an ideal society consists of three main groups of people. First is the producers, the people who make living possible – the craftsmen, farmers, and artisans. The second class is the warrior class. And finally, we have guardians or rulers, a society is just when these three classes are right, and work in harmony with one another.

According to Socrates, the ruling class of the ideal society would consist of true philosophers – men and women, dominated by their rational faculties.

Book of Amos

In the book of Amos, it starts with the justice of God, and then shows how that relates to justice in society. In the book we can find the dishonesty, violence & corruption in the Israelite society. Consequently, God brings down a punishment that Amos reveals to us. In the book of Amos it shows what God would expect of a communal society, in where people thrive in a system free of corruption,  a system where merchants are honest and judges are incorruptible. And a system where those who have been treated unjustly are treated justly. In the words of Amos,

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24, NIV).”

A Divine just state in today’s day and age

Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed and even Plato have all agreed that no one can walk the path of truth alone, but that we all need brothers and sisters on our sides, that walk with us.

Building and living in a divine community is indeed a practical way to live the teachings of selflessness that the prophets and messengers have come with and the only cure for our corrupt society that has completely forgotten the concept of selflessness.

“The simplest of the rights of the believer is that you should love for him what you love for yourself and you should despise for him what you despise for yourself.

The second is that you should help him with yourself, your wealth, your tongue, your hands and your feet. The third is that you should pursue what pleases him and avoid his displeasure and obey his command. The fourth is that you should be his eyes, his guide and his mirror. The fifth is that you should not fill your stomach whilst he is hungry, you should not be quenched whilst he is thirsty and you should not clothe yourself whilst he is naked.” – Imam Sadiq (pbuh)  

In the Bhagavad Gita, a prominent text of Hinduism, Krishna PBUH says,

“Those devotees are very dear to Me who are free from malice toward all living beings, who are friendly, and compassionate. They are free from attachment to possessions and egotism, equipoised in happiness and distress, and ever-forgiving.”

Imagine such a community where nobody owns more than the other, and where everything is shared? How many of our conflicts today are caused by greed, by the fear of losing our possessions, by the fear of being exploited or giving too much? What if we were to rid ourselves of all this by choice and through giving away and sharing all our belongings with our brothers in faith we defeat the urges of greed and selfishness that house inside every human being?

“Verily Al-Husain (pbuh) paved the way for the Divine Just State, as if Al-Husain (pbuh) was slaughtered in Karbala in order that the Qa’im (pbuh) from his sons reigns, and as if Al-Husain (pbuh) was a sacrifice for the establishment of the Divine Just State, and for the rulership of Allah, the Almighty, {And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice} And as such this sacrifice was the clearest sign of the signs to the way for Allah, the Almighty.”  – Sayings of Imam Ahmed al Hassan. 208.  

The promised Divine Just State will be implemented in this day & age by Imam al Mahdi. A state filled with peace & love towards one another will be established & an end will come to corruption, suffering & conflict. A society that is balanced, a society in which the structures are fair to everybody without exception, a society where no man, woman or child are discriminated against. A state that is built without currency, injustice, disease & death unless murdered or by accident. The people’s necessities & needs will be taken care of. The ones in high authority will no longer be in position, equality will be established & oppression banished. Everyone will live like a king and play a role in society but live the same as their brother. A communal society will be built.

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